Eclipse is a controversial topic. It is a great open source success story, it is the most widely used Java Integrated Development Environment (IDE), it is powerful, and it is the center of the largest ecosystem of add-ons and derivative products available for software development. These are the reasons Eclipse was chosen as the development target for plug-ins that customize it for Android software development. But Eclipse has been criticized for being unfriendly and difficult to learn.
Eclipse isn’t like most GUI software that takes pains to protect the user from invoking operations that cannot succeed. Eclipse’s developers favor modularity and power over smoothing the sharp edges. For example, one of the first things you may have noticed in running an example program is that Eclipse offers to do things with your Android program that don’t make much sense, like running it on a server, or as an applet, as shown in Figure 5-1.
Figure 5-1. Running Eclipse as an applet, a task that is bound to fail
We are not here to criticize Eclipse, nor rationalize on its behalf. But we will explain why Eclipse does things like this. We will explain how Eclipse components fit together and work together. We will familiarize you with what you are looking at when you launch Eclipse and start coding. With this knowledge you will be better equipped to make ...