Sciology = Science + Technology

Commonsense in Technology

Dont blame Eclipse if you cant train your users !!!

Posted by sureshkrishna on August 29, 2007

This article is some thing that i want to write for a long time and i am writing it now :).  For reasons that we all know, many organizations have adopted Eclipse either as IDE for product development, ot IT customizes and offers it to the developers/users. Thats nice to hear….and i also see so mnay support calls and tickets to the IT and Sales guys, its very frustrating to educate some one over the phone or by mail.

Some of the Frequently Asked Questions :

  • Business Users  (still users ….)
    • Why should i use the workspace ?
    • Where are the projects created ?
    • Eclipse is hogging my CPU and Memory consumption
    • I found a useful plugin. How can i update a plugin ?
    • Where should i enter the license for this plugin ?
    • If an error occurs in eclipse, where should i look ?
    • Whats an error log ?
    • Whats a View and Perspective ? Where should i look for them …
    • When i am editing a file, why does it say that a file is changed on file system….
    • Where are preferences and properties ? Are they specific to a project ?
    • I want to open an existing project, i dont see that option (refering to Project Import)
    • Why cant i add/modify anything in the “Outline View” 🙂
    • Documentation and Help does not come with the installation
    • I want to develop c code, edit xmls etc…. can i do that in Eclipse
    • How do i know the version numbers of the plugins that i use ?
    • Should i set any environment variables….
  • Product Managers / Executives
    • Does eclipse work on Linux and Mac ?
    • I want to have a similar interface as Web 2.0 (all nice and cool effects…)
    • Should we train all our users on Java ?
    • Eclipse …. Its open source right…. is it reliable ?
    • If some thing goes wrong, whom should i blame 🙂

 And by now you know what i am talking about. I have had several problems in dealing with these kind of questions. You are quite lucky if all of your users, execs, etc…are in one single geo location and in one single office. But i am quite sure that many of the projects are not like this. We have development, sales, marketing and R&D divisions spread out and some times probably even different languages too :).

In many of the cases that i have seen, users are FORCED to use the tools and IDEs right from the day one. Now users try to get the every possible reason NOT to use it. I dont blame them, some times its frustrating to attend some of the support calls and trying to explain what a view and perspective is over the phone, but… You got to do what you got to do.

After all these years i see that there are definately obvious reason why you get these kind of questions.

Some of my recommendations for all those who want to roll out a Eclipse Application / RCP tools.

  • Executives / Product Managers
    • Any organization spends huge bucks on their tools and IDEs. This is a fact. You dont have the luxury of changing the tools every now-and-then. You got to choose some thing and thats gonna stay for a long time. So, please DO spend some time in getting to know eclipse on the ground level.
    • Eclipse + Open Source does not mean that there is no quality in software / its just for academics / just a Java IDE.
    • Dont ever think even with a commercial tool / IDE, you can get the things rectified in a super light years fast :).  I am sure that in reality that never happens, we raise the tickets, attach the logs, explalin the problem to the support, do some iterations and the finally…. you get some good or bad news. Does it ring bells…..
    • Before you take any decision on the Product Architecture and Product Suite, please DO consult some experts in eclipse to know what you are doing makes sense or not. The companies that i saw use Eclipse as one of the puzzle peices in the product suite.
    • You have to know what is possible and what is NOT possible. As an example… WEB 2.0 and Ajax kind of special and cool effects are nice, but please dont try to bring them into the Eclipse IDE/Applicaiton/Product. You just need to understand that an IDE is an IDE and WEB is a WEB 🙂 .
    • When you invest money on Eclipse, its not only as an IDE but also as an Application, as a RCP Product, Framework to build other applications, Data Integration Tools, etc… so know what eclispe can offer to you before you say anything.
  • Bussiness users / Developers  /Newbies…
    • If you are not a developer and never ever worked with an IDE, please do take a Training. Its worth a life time than getting frustrated with some small issues.
    • If Eclipse is delivered to you as a RCP application, there are two aspects of looking into the features. First is to see what are the features that RCP application provides, and second is to see what parts of eclipse features are available. Always understand that any RCP application or Eclipse IDE is made from Eclipse Plaltform (in many cases). So its important to know what you get by default and what you get from your own companies plugin distribution.
    • Ask your IT manager to arrange for a training and get the Yogic Knowledge 🙂

One Response to “Dont blame Eclipse if you cant train your users !!!”

  1. Nick Boldt said

    Regarding the long list of FAQs, these would make an excellent addition to the Eclipse Wiki. Some are already answered there, but we’d be happy to have your contributions for those that as yet have not been.

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