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David21
Level 7

Eclipse as a development tool?

https://blog.roku.com/developer/2016/04 ... se-plugin/ is an April announcement of a Roku plugin for Eclipse, a Java-based IDE. This post gave clear instructions for installing Java, Eclipse, and the plugin, but then only showed some screen shots. The tutorial appears to have stopped at this point. Eclipse doesn't seem self-explanatory, at least for use with Roku. I know it's supposed to edit BrightScript, makefiles, and manifests, and upload to the Roku automatically. But without instructions, I'm having trouble. All I can really get is error messages. There seems to be very little help on the Web, or here on this forum.

I don't mind learning the more "manual" methods of Roku development (I can already package up .zip files, and side load zips and pkgs successfully), but I'm reluctant to scuttle Eclipse before really giving it a try, and it promises to speed up development. Can anyone point me to instructions or tutorials on Eclipse as used in Roku development?
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22 Replies
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boomAlex
Level 7

Re: Eclipse as a development tool?

https://sdkdocs.roku.com/display/sdkdoc/Eclipse+Plugin+Guide is what I used to set up my eclipse environment when I started Roku dev quite some time ago. Not sure if this will help you any more then the blog post though.
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EnTerr
Level 9

Re: Eclipse as a development tool?

Said post ass-umes you are coming to Roku development from Eclipse background and Eclipse is your bread-and-butter^.

For me, i found the Eclipse plugin features as appropriate as using "Dragon Dictate" app for development. I mean, maybe Dragon can transcribe faster than i can type (doubtful) - but typing speed is never my issue as developer! It's never the case saying "gosh, i will be so much more productive if i could type faster!"... software development is just not that kind of job.

Ditto with teh plugin - the questions it answers are not ones that are being asked - while shirking the important ones. Basically what it does it answer things which are obvious/trivial to implement, like "how do i start from some template code?" (fixing a non-existent problem - well duh, unzip and copy an example!) or "how do i create localization resource subdirectories" (considering >90% of all users are English-speakers, not to mention "right click > New Folder > rename" magic). The elephant in the room though? Debugging! No way to set breakpoints, step through and explore variable stack.

In addition, Roku plugin seems to regularly break with Eclipse updates, demands particular versions of Java and Eclipse, is a RAM/CPU hog... thus i consider it belonging to the set of problems and not solutions (i.e. "i've got 99 problems... Oh i know, i'll use Eclipse! ... now i have 100 problems"). To minimize my problems, currently I just use a few lines of deployment script i wrote myself and a generic programmer's editor like TextWrangler (on Mac) with VB Script highlighting.

(^) Highly questionable. I remember a recent meetup, Traganos was building momentum "show of hands, how many of you use and love Eclipse?" - a paltry few hands go up - "Well anyway, i have great news for you - we have improved our plugin and added blah-de-blah (something minor, like scenography hints)!". No excited cheers were heard. I liked how he polls the audience though - hope received feedback wakes up somebody at the wheel.
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David21
Level 7

Re: Eclipse as a development tool?

Gosh, so far it sounds like Eclipse is only worth struggling with if one is already using it. While I could probably get used to some IDEs (like PHPStorm, which is wonderful but expensive), I don't see anything about Eclipse that I like. If I only wanted syntax color, which seems their big claim to fame in the post, I can get that from lots of tools (starting with Emacs). Oh, well.
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NewManLiving
Level 7

Re: Eclipse as a development tool?

It all depends upon what you are going to do. Eclipse is an integrated development environment. You have everything you need in one nice package. With the introduction of Scene Graph, ROKU development has become more intricate. For example, a task node runs on its own thread. Each node requires its own telnet console to debug. These can be opened in tabs and docked anywhere you like. You have an outliner that allows you to quickly find functions that you need to work with in a brs file. You can have multiple projects open, such as code libraries you may have created. There are plugins for XML and JSON. You can modify and quickly side load to your box. You have an integrated debugger, you can associate your image files and other files to any editor and just click on the file in the project manager to open and edit. The more complex your projects are the more you will appreciate the plugin. Stick with it you will come to appreciate it
My Channels: 2D API Framework Presentation: https://owner.roku.com/add/2M9LCVC
Updated: 11-11-2015 - Completed Keyboard interface
The Joel Channel ( Final Beta )
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EnTerr
Level 9

Re: Eclipse as a development tool?

"NewManLiving" wrote:
... You have an integrated debugger,

Wait, wait... say what now?!


PS. come to think of it, there appears to be some resemblance between Mr.Bean and my facial interface. Hmm. Who extends/implements what, i wonder... :mrgreen:
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David21
Level 7

Re: Eclipse as a development tool?

NewManLiving, Well, you certainly make it sound wonderful. But without good instructions, or tutorials, it is useless. How did you learn it when you first downloaded it?
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NewManLiving
Level 7

Re: Eclipse as a development tool?

https://sdkdocs.roku.com/display/sdkdoc ... ugin+Guide

This will give you a general overview. There are some frustrating quirks, the new plugin keeps loosing the IP address of the box so you may have to retype it in when you export to the box, at least on ROKU 4. There still is no support for the new operators ( such as l_variable++ ) so you will get a syntax error which you cannot override as far as I can tell. I have always been a 2D API programmer so my projects are extremely code intensive, therefore Eclipse is a must-have. Most of it is intuitive or you can ask questions here. For the most part the default layout is what you would generally work with. Create a project, open it, create source files, click and open them. Always have to have at least one file open to export, as I said, you have to learn to deal with the minor quirks. File export to side-load your project or create a package, open consoles in window show view menu. Not really that much to learn, you'll see, like anything else its daunting at first. I used to think JDeveloper was daunting, now its so simple. Started doing fire tv and Apple TV as well, it all looks complex until you do it a few times, then there is not much to it. If you are still in the JAVA perspective just go to window perspective, open perspective, other and select brightscript. This will load the default layout
My Channels: 2D API Framework Presentation: https://owner.roku.com/add/2M9LCVC
Updated: 11-11-2015 - Completed Keyboard interface
The Joel Channel ( Final Beta )
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NewManLiving
Level 7

Re: Eclipse as a development tool?

"EnTerr" wrote:
"NewManLiving" wrote:
... You have an integrated debugger,

Wait, wait... say what now?!


PS. come to think of it, there appears to be some resemblance between Mr.Bean and my facial interface. Hmm. Who extends/implements what, i wonder... :mrgreen:


Well I do tend to exaggerate a bit. Smiley Happy
My Channels: 2D API Framework Presentation: https://owner.roku.com/add/2M9LCVC
Updated: 11-11-2015 - Completed Keyboard interface
The Joel Channel ( Final Beta )
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David21
Level 7

Re: Eclipse as a development tool?

NewManLiving, I must admit to understanding very little of your description. What is "perspective"? I played around and got an "Open Perspective" dialog box, but it contains no "windows" perspective (my OS is Windows). Anything can be learned, but I'm old enough (and retired), so I'm not inclined to learn by experimentation, or by asking someone hundreds of questions. I simply don't have that kind of time available, nor do I deserve to struggle that much to learn a new system. Besides, I believe that any software that is really good will have good documentation. This one doesn't seem to.
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