Eclipse IDE as a development environment for Java: What are its advantages?

Eclipse IDE is a popular integrated development environment also known as Integrated Development Environment. For developers, it has numerous advantages, which is why millions of people around the world use it. If you’re thinking about giving it a try, but don’t know if it’s for you, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve written down some basic information that’s worth knowing.

What is the Eclipse Java Integrated Development Environment?

Eclipse Java is a free development platform based on the Java programming language. Many use Eclipse in combination with the Java programming language as an integrated development environment for Java programming. In addition to Eclipse IDE, we are also familiar with many other development environments, such as Visual Studio, Android Studio, pyCharm or IntelliJ.

The Eclipse development platform is written in Java and is primarily used for Java application development. But you don’t have to use only the Java programming language. The Eclipse platform is also compatible with other programming languages such as C++, JavaScript, PHP, Prolog, Python, Scala, Scheme and Rust. You just need one of the plugins to use these languages.

These are what Eclipse Java uses for its operation. The Eclipse plugin extends the basic functionality of Eclipse and allows you to customize your basic workspace. There are several of them. Most of them are available for free and can be downloaded mainly from the Eclipse Marketplace.

The introduction of the OSGi framework (Equinox) version 3.0 is also a big plus, which allows for product extensibility. The reason is to dynamically load plugins in situations where you really need them.

Eclipse IDE Java programmer's work
Use Eclipse with different programming languages.

In the past, Eclipse has operated under the Common Public License. Later it switched to its own license called the Eclipse Public License (EPL). In addition to this license, there is another license, the Eclipse Distribution License (EDL). To get it, you have to apply for it.

What versions of Eclipse we know and how to recognize them

In the past, the Eclipse Foundation has released new versions of the development environment every year. For many, their name was particularly interesting. The oldest versions Callisto, Europa, and Ganymede were inspired by the moons of Jupiter. These were followed by names associated with mythology or the sun – Helios, Indigo or Juno.

Some versions contained only minor changes, while others pleased with interesting innovations. The 2014 version of Luna, for example, gained integrated support for Java 8. In 2018, the company switched to quarterly releases. Since this year, the naming has also changed. It depends on the actual months when the version is released. For example, when the version was released in September 2020, its name is 2020-09.

Programming with Eclipse

The Eclipse integrated development environment is a cross-platform tool with a powerful user interface that supports drag and drop. It allows developers to bring all parts of a computer program together in one place to easily work on scalable and open source software development.

IDE features that facilitate development

The IDE increases developer efficiency by combining common software development processes such as source code editing, executable creation and debugging into one tool. IDE tools are designed to cover programming that helps in creating other applications. The IDE thus helps developers to immediately start programming new applications without additional configurations.


When a program fails, it often provides little information about the real reason for its failure. Debugging is the routine process of locating and removing errors or abnormalities from programs. It helps to find even the smallest bug that is not visible during code review or that occurs only under specific conditions, and thus find out why the program fails or generates an unlikely result. It also allows the developer go through the entire program and set the so-called breakpoints. Those programs will halt at key points where you can return in case of program failure.

Code completion

The intelligent IDE Code completion tool is designed to eliminate the need to write entire sequences of characters, not only saving programmers time, but also reducing the number of errors caused by typos. This feature improves workflow and helps developers intelligently and automatically add common code components.


Renaming a class used throughout the project can take a lot of time. But refactoring makes the job easier by automatically detecting and modifying everything that depends on the renamed class. This IDE tool thus allows programmers to make complex changes and rename them.

Fully functional Eclipse C++ development environment

You can also use the Eclipse development environment with C and C++. The Eclipse C++ project, also referred to as CDT, is used for this purpose. Like the Eclipse IDE, Eclipse CDT has a number of features, including a code editor with syntax highlighting, visual debugging tools, and project creation support.

Eclipse IDE Java programmer's work
Eclipse can also be used with PHP.

Eclipse PDT development environment for easier extensibility

The Eclipse PDT project, also referred to as PHP, serves to provide a PHP development environment for the Eclipse platform. If you use PHP programming language, you will definitely use this IDE. The PHP project, like the Eclipse IDE development environment, facilitates extensibility and overall usability. It provides several features, including syntax highlighting and validation, code navigation, code formatting, and code templates. Of course, we shouldn’t forget about providing the very practical ecosystem that is characteristic of Eclipse.

Eclipse Python development environment

A separate category is Eclipse Python, a development environment for Python programmingwhich enables highly productive object-oriented programming. You can use the handy PyDev plugin, which allows you to use Python within the Eclipse platform. In addition, it also supports Jython and IronPython.

The PyDev plugin provides several features, including code completion and parsing, integration with Django, and syntax highlighting. There’s also integration with Google App Engine and the ability to add or remove comments.

What is Eclipse Foundation?

Along with Eclipse, you may also come across the term Eclipse Foundation. It is a foundation and independent non-profit corporation based in Canada. Its role is to manage the community of developers using the Eclipse development environment.

The integrated development environment was created in 2001 when a consortium was formed with a board of administrators. This was to support the development of Eclipse as open source software. The original members of the consortium were IBM, Borland, Merant, ONX Software Systems, Rational Software, Red Hat, SuSE, TogetherSoft and WebGain.

Eclipse IDE Java programmer's work
Discover all the benefits of the Eclipse development environment.

For a long time, Eclipse struggled with its biggest competitor, which was Microsoft’s Visual Studio. In 2016, however, Microsoft announced that it would join the Eclipse Foundation and support the integration of its Visual Studio program. This gave developers using Eclipse full access to Visual Studio Team Services.

The Eclipse Foundation provides four core services to community members, namely:

  • IP management
  • ecosystem development
  • IT infrastructure
  • software marketing

The Foundation also focuses on creating an environment for various open source projects and on serving the Eclipse community.

What are the most important features of Eclipse IDE?

Eclipse IDE has an important position in the market of development environments. It provides many developers with the necessary functions and can simplify their work thanks to its practical features. What are the functions?

Practical workspace for all projects

Eclipse provides a handy workspace where you can bring all your projects together. It keeps your files, images and other necessary data in one place, not to mention making work and overall data management quick and easy. You’ll adapt to the workspace in a relatively short time.

More convenience thanks to editors and different views

The Eclipse development environment provides editors and various display options. These views are also called perspectives, and you get a separate view for each specific group of data. This feature makes it easier to use and provides greater comfort.

Great environment for larger IT projects

The Eclipse IDE is designed to handle large IT development projects. So if you are working on something bigger, you can opt for Eclipse IDE. When you use it, you can be sure that it will give you the support you need.

Why use Eclipse Java?

From the description of Eclipse, you could see what benefits this software brings to developers. In addition to these, it will also delight you with other strengths, namely:

  • Eclipse IDE provides support for data modeling (e.g. UML) and support for testing (JUnit tests).
  • In use for more than 20 years, the software is stable, reliable and almost bug-free.
  • The solution problems are mostly already documented thanks to the huge community of Eclipse development environment users.
  • Eclipse IDE has regular updates that come every quarter since 2018.
  • Installing Java Eclipse is fairly simple, but requires installing the Java Development Kit (JDK) and linking the libraries to Eclipse.
  • Many people also use Eclipse because of its simplified user interface. You can easily program and develop an application with many features.
  • Within the Eclipse IDE workspace, you can link multiple projects together.
  • The Eclipse platform supports JPA and JSF tools and also supports XML file editing.
  • On the Eclipse Java platform, you will find the server view tab. With it, you can deploy the application to any server according to your needs directly from the development environment.
  • Eclipse provides the Eclipse Web Tools Platform (WTP) project, which has tools for developing web pages and Java EE applications. The project includes graphical editors for different languages as well as applications to simplify development. It also includes tools to support application deployment, launch and testing.
  • Another great advantage of Eclipse is that it is free. You don’t have to worry about unnecessary expenses when using it.

How to install Java and Eclipse IDE on Windows

We’ve prepared a detailed guide to installing Java and Eclipse IDE on Windows.

What are the disadvantages of Eclipse IDE?

The Eclipse development environment has many great advantages. However, there are also a few downsides that you have to take into account when using it. They are:

  • Slower performance – Eclipse tends to run slower than some other development environments.
  • Occasional freezes – in conjunction with slower performance, you may sometimes experience annoying freezes.
  • Higher RAM memory load – In some cases, Eclipse can place a heavy load on the RAM cache.

Is it worth using the Java Eclipse development environment?

Eclipse is a free development environment that provides interesting possibilities for Java programming and programming in other programming languages using plugins. It is currently one of the most widely used IDEs on the market. But no wonder. It is suitable not only for smaller but also for larger projects. That’s why it’s definitely worth a try, especially if you use Java programming language. But you will also find something for yourself with Python or C++. Take full advantage of the Eclipse IDE and simplify your job as an Eclipse Java developer.

Open source integrated development environment Java Eclipse is also used by us at msg life Slovakia for programming in Java and development of Java applications and custom software. If you want to be part of our development team and participate in interesting projects in an international team, take a look at our open job offers and join us today.

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