When plugin support can make the difference

I wanted to post a reply to Alexey in the original thread (http://www.intellij.net/forums/thread.jspa?forumID=18&threadID=212191#5087288) , but I thought the subject deserved its own :

Alexey,

I understand that you at Jetbrains currently don't have much time to devote to plugin development. But in enterprise space, it's fundamental that the IDE you're using closely follows the mainstream technologies. One key point in Eclipse widespread adoption has been the huge availability of plugins. I will take for example the hibernate tools project and spring-ide which are two initiatives from the same teams that created the technology. The most important thing is that they make these plugins available for free and that they keep them very close to the new features they're adding regularly to the frameworks.

Another example that comes to mind is the Clearcase plugin. I've been using this plugin for quite a long time now. So much that I've decided to join the project and add new features because the initial developers couldn't spend much time on it anymore. But it's still a very long way until it can be a match to the (free) Rational Clearcase Eclipse plugin. It still lacks project status refresh (not update), proper file renaming and deletion, UCM support and so on. As an professional developer, I too can't spend too much time on adding these much needed features. Clearcase is one of the most used Source control management tool, and I can assure you that this kind of plugin support is a key decision when it comes to choose between Intellij and Eclipse. And you can say the same thing about Hibernate and Spring or Struts and other mainstream tools available.

Maybe it's time to hire a few developers and take IntelliJ to an higher level of integration with third party projects and not solely rely on the good willing of a bunch of fans (which ultimately can decide to make their own plugin go the commercial way and hence make potential IntelliJ customers turn towards free alternative : Eclipse and its free plugins).

Gilles Philippart

17 comments

Hello Gilles,

GP> I wanted to post a reply to Alexey in the original thread
GP> (http://www.intellij.net/forums/thread.jspa?forumID=18&threadID=2121
GP> 91#5087288) , but I thought the subject deserved its own :
GP>
GP> Alexey,
GP>
GP> I understand that you at Jetbrains currently don't have much time to
GP> devote to plugin development.

Alexey is not a JetBrains employee. :)

--
Dmitry Jemerov
Software Developer
JetBrains, Inc.
http://www.jetbrains.com
"Develop with pleasure!"


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Alexey is not a JetBrains employee. :)


Ooops, forget about the post then ;).

Dmitry, i think you guys are really doing a great job, and i think it would be great if you could allocate more time to plugin developement.

Gilles Philippart

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As for me post still actual and subject the same so keep discussing. Alexey's employment not affects this topic importance

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Gilles,
As Dima already tald, i'm just one of plugin writers not a JetBrains employee.

Relative to your post:
1. JetBrains laready started companion project to support plugin vendors who realy belive IntelliJ IDEA as maneymaker tool. It already work, and it great base for commerce plugins.

2. The only one thing makes intelliJ IDEA great IDE over all other (including NetBeans and Eclipse). This thing - is main direction controlled by JetBrains. If everyone human start puting to IDEA a lot of "Cool Staff" as for open source or free project, IntelliJ IDEA will trashed after month.

3. Now with IntelliJ IDEA shipped several plugins that included into from this community. All thiese plugin was for free before and JetBrains include them to base instalation.

4. Your case about Clearcase plugin is not a clear case. If someone wan't spent your time anymore for plugin, it is not a JetBrains proble, it's not a developer problem etc. If you want some - just do it.

5. JetBrains, as far i know, can hire developers for plugins and actualy do that.

Thanks!

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While Gilles thinking I will respond :)

1. I doubt that it will help much for IDEA-only plugins... Of course "Riverside" plugins quite successfull(probably) but who knows real demand(as for me only JS part of them unique). But as were mentioned already one thing if you install free Eclipse and buy MyEclipse to it and another if you buy IDEA and start to buy more plugins... Plugins good for existing products or in case of multiple IDE support, but if it IDEA-only plugin authors need some motivations cause one thing create plugin for first time and another support it for free.

2. Quite emotinal but not concrete

3. And?

4. To Gilles: Actualy Crearcase may be widely used in Rational(IBM) marketing booklets ;) To Alexe: But force every user to add required to him functionality by hands...

Thanks,
Dmitry

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2. Yes, i'm tried to do one's best :))
3. And what? :) Just point that JetBrains realy think and look for existings plugins.
4. Yes, everyone user of exotic products may to try add exotic plugin.

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Indeed ! ... and Gilles is actually reading my mind.

Message was edited by:
lllopo

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Struts, Spring, Hibernate not exotic thought....

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Hibero already in companion.
Spring is exotic and strange technology for me, and Struts.

But, Spring and Struct is planed incore suport in IDEA, as far i know. And already available.

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1. JetBrains laready started companion project to
support plugin vendors who realy belive IntelliJ IDEA
as maneymaker tool. It already work, and it great
base for commerce plugins.

Eclipse is free and has free plugins for third party tools. IntelliJ is commercial with commercial plugins for the same tools. Doesn't this look like non-sense to you ? As much as i'm an IntelliJ lover (productivity, ease of use etc...), I can hardly imagine an IT executive selecting IntelliJ over Eclipse when considering this very point.

2. The only one thing makes intelliJ IDEA great IDE
over all other (including NetBeans and Eclipse). This
thing - is main direction controlled by JetBrains. If
everyone human start puting to IDEA a lot of "Cool
Staff" as for open source or free project, IntelliJ
IDEA will trashed after month.

Alexey, I'm not talking about open sourcing IDEA. I'm asking Jetbrains to dedicate more time to develop high-quality (and free) plugins for the most successful third-party tools outhere.

3. Now with IntelliJ IDEA shipped several plugins
that included into from this community. All thiese
plugin was for free before and JetBrains include them
to base instalation.

Yes, this is true, and they should put an emphasis on this trend in my opinion. And go one step further and create new plugins to be on par with its main contender : Eclipse

4. Your case about Clearcase plugin is not a clear
case. If someone wan't spent your time anymore for
plugin, it is not a JetBrains proble, it's not a
developer problem etc. If you want some - just do
it.

My problem is Jetbrains problem. Why ? Because I'm a customer. If I'm concerned with ClearCase support, and speaking about it openly, ask yourself how many others are in the same case, and didn't choose IntelliJ just for that matter...

5. JetBrains, as far i know, can hire developers for
plugins and actualy do that.

That's my point.

Gilles Philippart

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Struts outdated already almost. Spring is not so obvious and used everywhere but widespread too. I wonder how many copies of Hibero was sold but doubt that quite much.

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Reading my mind ... again :)))
And by the way, has anyone of you tried the latest NetBeans ( 6.something nightly ) ? We're speaking of Eclipse as the biggest rival, but NetBeans is also gaining fast, I think. There are too many fast learners these days, so I fully agree with you.

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Dmitry Kashin wrote:

4. To Gilles: Actualy Crearcase may be widely used in Rational(IBM) marketing booklets ;)


Clearcase is one of the most used version control systems in many banks
(and banks like to pay for licenses and support contracts).

On the other hand, the user base of many emerging technologies are
mostly a bunch of guys in a garage developing a risky few-month project
or people who work on the in hobby projects.

I would estimate that much higher percent of the people who use
Clearcase have bought an IDEA license than the people who use the Struts
plugin (no offense meant). On the other hand, the total number of Struts
people is an order of magnitude more than the CC user base, so it's hard
to prioritize.

Being enterprise-friendly is good, but then you have to compete with the
'old boys' IBM, SAP, SAS, Sybase. IDEA can still easily beat most of the
IDEs from these company, the real problems are the already established
business relations.

Selling to the crowds takes much more effort and has much lower return,
especially fighting against competition as Eclipse and NetBeans which
are both good enough AND free.

Again, as I said - features should be prioritized in terms of sold
copies and not in terms of how many people would benefit from particular
feature. Actually the team server is a very good move in this direction
which if done right could benefit for IDEAs penetration in some
traditionally conservative markets.

cheers,
Dimitar

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On the other hand, the user base of many emerging
technologies are
mostly a bunch of guys in a garage developing a risky
few-month project
or people who work on the in hobby projects.


Are you talking about Hibernate, Struts, and Spring here ? I wouldn't call these "emerging technologies", i would rather call them "well established" technologies which are also used in banks (since i've been working in this industry for 6 years)


I would estimate that much higher percent of the
people who use
Clearcase have bought an IDEA license than the people
who use the Struts
plugin (no offense meant). On the other hand, the
total number of Struts
people is an order of magnitude more than the CC user
base, so it's hard
to prioritize.


I would estimate the percentage of people using Clearcase having bought IDEA close to zero (kidding here but you get the point). There aren't any official plugin from Jetbrains or from Rational, and in terms of integration, since Eclipse and Clearcase come from the same editor (IBM), it's an easy decision to make when it comes to choose between Eclipse and IntelliJ (or even WSAD and IntelliJ)... A few months ago I've been in such a position where I could have oriented the decision, but lack of official support for Clearcase buried the IntelliJ option alive...And Eclipse was chosen.

Being enterprise-friendly is good, but then you have
to compete with the
'old boys' IBM, SAP, SAS, Sybase. IDEA can still
easily beat most of the
IDEs from these company, the real problems are the
already established
business relations.

Selling to the crowds takes much more effort and has
much lower return,
especially fighting against competition as Eclipse
and NetBeans which
are both good enough AND free.

Again, as I said - features should be prioritized in
terms of sold
copies and not in terms of how many people would
benefit from particular
feature.


Do you really think that the "crowds" as you call them are not the same persons that work for banks (or other Fortune 500 companies) ? In my opinion, 95 % of IntelliJ customers use it for professional reasons in their daily work and not for their next pet project. So if those people (including me) ask for Hibernate, Spring, Struts, or whatever other technology, it's because there's a real need.

>Actually the team server is a very good move

in this direction
which if done right could benefit for IDEAs
penetration in some
traditionally conservative markets.


Agreed. I'm looking forward to install it to handle the builds for the current project i'm working on (and it's a 9 figures value project, quite not a pet project).

Gilles

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Gilles Philippart wrote:

Are you talking about Hibernate, Struts, and Spring here ?
I wouldn't call these "emerging technologies", i would rather
call them "well established" technologies which are also used
in banks (since i've been working in this industry for 6 years)


I guess it depends on the place. We are forced to use our homemade
persistence and marshaling framework and most of the issues that Spring
addresses are already covered (arguably by some suboptimal framework).
If you need to use anything that does the same thing as some of the
homemade frameworks is a hard fight that is not really worth.

I would estimate the percentage of people using Clearcase having
bought IDEA close to zero (kidding here but you get the point).


I see your point. What I meant is that the free vs commercial is not the
deciding factor for the big companies (sometimes commercial is even
preferred). On the other hand, the smaller companies have to be more
money conscious and are more likely to cut some corners if they can
(e.g. by using EAP and evaluation licenses).

Do you really think that the "crowds" as you call them are not the same

> persons that work for banks (or other Fortune 500 companies) ?

Then in this case I should speak for myself. I see great value in
supporting clearcase as I might need to use it in the near future. It is
critical that a version control tool is tightly coupled with the
refactoring tool, in order to keep the revision history, make sure that
the whole changeset is committed, etc.

As far as I know even now if one renames a class, the Spring reference
would be detected as plain text ref and updated. Everything else (like
navigation, visualization and bubbles and arrows editors) I consider
non-critical.

> In my opinion, 95 % of IntelliJ customers use it for professional
> reasons in their daily work and not for their next pet project.

I know people use IDEA with EAP license for their daily jobs (damn, for
more than two years I was one of them). It's not that they cant afford
to buy a copy - it's just that they don't have to and they expect that
the company should buy it for them. From some company's POV, there is no
good reason to pay real money for an IDE when there are free ones just
as good.

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While Struts is outdated, there is plenty of old code using it, and given that some support is really needed.

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Just for clarification we are using Struts ;)
It was just answer to Alexey comment about few people using Struts and Spring...

Thanks,
Dmitry

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