The Real World: Eclipse and Subversion

Outside this placid and pretty place we call The Little Yellow Bubble (tm), developers use tools such as eclipse (which we're finally getting - yay! - in a few months ot years time - boo!). And in the Real World, developers have to use change control subsystems.



Change control, as you know, is the art of going 'woops - damn - let me reverse out that change' without losing ones career. Which is nice. Little Yellow Bubble land of course, has its own change control system - the rather excellent and spiffy TeamStudio Ciao. If you've not tried it yet - go and check it out. It'll save your ass career one day. Anywhoo.



In my rather mid-life-crisis attempt to actually get back to The Real World, I installed Eclipse (again, very cool), and Flex. Which is actually sub-zero cool. But thats another article.



Despite Casa Buchan having some 14+ server style machines of various operating system hanging around (everything bar iSeries and zSeries), I really didnt want to host my own change control server. Honestly. It'd probably break, and I'd lose everything, and then I'd cry. Which isnt good. So, I found this rather spiffy article on using Subversion with Flex (on Eclipse) with all sounded rather straightforward. It even recommended a free service from Assembla, which I signed up for. Using a on-line source control/change control repository also meant that the other members of my team - yes, I do work in a team - can participate, and help develop/debug this new cool Flex stuff.



Last but not least, we have a variety of platforms - XP, Mac Leopard, and (spit!) Vista.



Thanks to this article, I learnt that actually, subversion support wasnt actually built into Eclipse in a meaningful way. Some spanners and bolts had been dropped in there, but hadnt actually been joined to anything meaningful. So after a day or so of 'Captain Click' (Paul Mooneys excellent description of 'frantically hitting everything till it works'), it does, actually work. Even on Vista. Hurrah!



Which kinda leads me to the moral of the day. Why bother spending all your hard earned money on Microsoft/IBM development tools, just to find they dont work. You can download eclipse for FREE and find out that it doesnt work! See. Open Source - Saves you money.



Okay. Kidding. It does hang together, and sometimes you just have to spend a bit of time getting your brain bent around it. Especially if you (like me) have spent the last 10 years in the Little Yellow Bubble, and are used to stuff just working (most of the time). And does a subversion user become a subversive?



Now, I cant wait till Research in Motion finally release their JDK and MDS kits for Eclipse (so they can play too). I also would say that I'm desperately awaiting 8.5 and its LotusScript editor, but being a design partner, I cant offically comment on any of that stuff. Which is a shame. Still, not long now.