Please do something about all these PROJECT CONFIGURATION BUGS

Sorry folks, if I come across harsh, but this area of Idea really deserves it.

I have been setting up projects (esp. EE projects) quite often lately.

If it's a very simple project and you know Idea very well you might get
it right the first time.

More probably you'll grind your teeth at some gross bugs.

Please FIX AT LEAST THE MOST SEVERE of these bugs. It would give Idea a bad
reputation if 7.0 goes gold with so many bugs in a so important area.

Sometimes your configuration edits are not saved at all (IDEA-13949, IDEA-13948) but Idea makes up for it by sometimes changing the configuration by itself (IDEA-14679). Sometimes reloading the project or restarting Idea or rebooting windows or touching an oak tree at a full moon night helps (IDEA-13991, IDEADEV-17063). At other times you get just a single shot at getting it right - you lamer, can't you just edit the xml configuration yourself, stupid? (IDEA-9284) Idea has some nice tricks in its sleeve and throws some challenges at you to test your worthiness of this greatest IDEs of all. It obfuscates library names (lib1, lib2, lib3 - IDEA-13929), it may just download another library version than it tells you (IDEA-14678), or it may throw in some resource files at completey strange places just to confuse you a little (IDEA-13847). When your're finally done, it'll teach you some respect by first fooling you with a false warning before you can run your app (IDEA-13845) and finally get's the last laugh when it just hangs forever (IDEA-14275). It tempts you with some shiny new feature only to see you despair (IDEA-13749, I had problems with this would-be-nice-feature at a lot of other places, but did not think it would have helped if I filed even more issues). And don't you ever dare to try and change this precious configuration you just begged and convinced Idea to create. You'll either get both old and new version (IDEA-13988) or it will break something else (IDEA-13950, IDEADEV-19072). At least you will soon give up such outrageous wishes as support for recent standards (IDEA-12602) or even those silly, not-even-standardized frameworks that some obscure people hacked into their NetBeans (IDEA-13980). All these are ONLY ISSUES I FILED! I could even have filed more, but at some point I stopped doing so, because the existing ones seem to be ignored anyway: IDEA-13949 - Sometimes edits to a library are not saved IDEA-13948 - Adding a jar does not make it into ear/war IDEA-14679 - Configure module library ->]]> Idea resets deployment from "copy to WEB-INF/lib" to "Do not package".
IDEA-13991 - Attaching sources to lib takes effect only after restart
IDEADEV-17063 - Can't change web.xml version - not even by recreating web.xml
IDEA-9284 - Deployment Descript Oddities: "Directory path relative to deployment root", ...
IDEA-13929 - New Project Wizard: Better library naming
IDEA-14678 - Idea breaks app by downloading incorrect myfaces version
IDEA-13847 - Idea incorrectly copies deployment descriptor
IDEA-13749 - Jar Directory does not work for Plugin run configuration
IDEA-13988 - Changing "Path relative to deployment root" results in duplicate jars
IDEA-13950 - Renaming project library breaks reference in module
IDEADEV-19072 - References to JavaEE facets in packaging settings aren't updated on module rename
IDEA-13845 - Bogus (?) warning in run configuration: 'Web Deployment Descriptor' is not defined
IDEA-14275 - JSP validation never finishes
IDEA-12602 - Support for ear/lib folder
IDEA-13980 - New Project Wizard: Allow Facelets instead of JSP when selecting JSF

There are lots of other issues in category "Project Configuration", some also
very severe.

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One month later.
Selena is close to a release.
Only a couple of bugs fixed.
Just filed two more bugs (can't help my habits).
Could file many more bugs.
Haven't much hope that bugs will get fixed.
Will not file any more bugs.
Please test yourselves.

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+1 (can I say +1000?)

I work on a lot of different projects, and I'm constantly creating
little new projects with IDEA... I find it very hard to use in this area
as well.

I too was surprised to see 7.0 go into RC mode so soon with such grossness.

I would love to see these bugs addressed as well.

Stephen Friedrich wrote:

One month later.
Selena is close to a release.
Only a couple of bugs fixed.
Just filed two more bugs (can't help my habits).
Could file many more bugs.
Haven't much hope that bugs will get fixed.
Will not file any more bugs.
Please test yourselves.

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Hello Arthur,

+1 (can I say +1000?)

I work on a lot of different projects, and I'm constantly creating
little new projects with IDEA... I find it very hard to use in this
area as well.

I too was surprised to see 7.0 go into RC mode so soon with such
grossness.

I would love to see these bugs addressed as well.


Could you please list some of the bugs that specifically affect you?

--
Dmitry Jemerov
Development Lead
JetBrains, Inc.
http://www.jetbrains.com/
"Develop with Pleasure!"


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I can't speak to all of Stephen's bugs, but I will agree with him in a more general sort of way. The thing that drew me to IDEA 2.x was the sheer simplicity of getting up and running with a new project. NetBeans had its stupid mount points and JBuilder was JBuilder, but I could introduce IDEA to a source tree and be editing code in about 3 minutes.

Then the language got more complex and of course so did project creation, but even up through 6.x I felt like it was still relatively easy to get a project going. But now with Selena, I feel blind when trying to create or edit a project -- things have moved or changed and there isn't a lot of guidance to get me through. In particular, I think the library setup is counter-intuitive and the facets are confusing.

Obviously you're on the brink of release so I won't try to come up with ways I think these could be less confusing, but what I will say is that the project configuration model needs to be as solid as possible. Bugs need to be fixed and setting up a project needs to make sense. Even if the real strength of IDEA is the superb editor and everything it does to facilitate development, the project creation is the front door to the product. If it's too hard for people to get in, they won't be able to see all the great stuff inside.

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It's mostly usability bugs for me which I've mentioned before in other
threads (and more than once) -- so I won't go into the details again here.

I'm speaking here more from a general sense of feelings of frustration
and futility.

I know that negative comments aren't very helpful, so I will try and
produce Jira entries when I can.

Dmitry Jemerov wrote:

Hello Arthur,

>> +1 (can I say +1000?)
>>
>> I work on a lot of different projects, and I'm constantly creating
>> little new projects with IDEA... I find it very hard to use in this
>> area as well.
>>
>> I too was surprised to see 7.0 go into RC mode so soon with such
>> grossness.
>>
>> I would love to see these bugs addressed as well.


Could you please list some of the bugs that specifically affect you?

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doliver wrote:

The thing that drew me to IDEA 2.x was the sheer simplicity
of getting up and running with a new project.


I had a very similar experience.

Four years ago when I was looking for a new IDE, I downloaded Eclipse first (I think it was still v 1 or 2 back then). After struggling for what seemed like an eternity to set up a project and do some basic compiling, I was very frustrated. I then downloaded IDEA 3. In less then 5 minutes I had a project configured, and was actively coding & compiling. I then purchased a personal license a day or two later. I didn't need 30 days to evaluate it.

Like dolver, I can't speak to all of Stephen's bugs. I have been working on the same base project for the past year or so and therefore have not needed to create many new projects. Form the few I have, like doliver, I also "agree with in a more general sort of way." There are some particularities in the project set up in IDEA 7. I do think things have been greatly improved in 7. To this date, I dislike project setup in 6.

As a couple of quick hits on some concerns I have:
1) I opened IDEA-15235 - New Project From Source: provide the ability to specify where the module (iml) file is placed
2) And I agree with IDEA-13929 - New Project Wizard: Better library naming (I created one large project from source and had 45 libraries named lib.jar, lib1.jar, lib2.jar, etc). I understand fixing this one can be a tall order since API's package their libs very differently. But IDEA is the Intelligent IDE.
3) Sometimes you have to set a project up two or three times to get it the way you want since yo are unsure how IDEA is going to do something based on the selection(s) made. This is just a general usability thing.

An important thing to remember is that project setup is an evaluator's first exposure to IDEA (after installation anyway). And most are not going to want to have to read documentation. They just want to play around with IDEA for a few minutes and see if it is worth their time to investigate/evaluate further. First impressions are important. You can lose a potential customer in less then 5 minutes. From a marketing perspective, easy installation and easy & intuitive project setup are the most important features; because without them, people may not try the product long enough to learn how great all the other features are. (And you have no idea how much as a developer it pains me to have to agree with something from marketing ;) )

It's a tough battle since projects are more complex today given all the technology they can include (Spring, Maven, WebApp, J2EE Enterprise App, etc.) How to provide a powerful project setup UI that allows for a lot of self discovery, but also allows for user overriding, and is simple & intuitive (especially to a first time IDEA user) is not an easy task. Some users may only use project setup one a year. So they may not remember all the tricks and particularities from the last time. Meanwhile other users (think code maintenance) may need to use the project setup several times a day; They want something that is fast, intuitive, and flexible (since not all projects they have to maintain have the same structure and layout). It is a tall order to create such a UI. I think IDEA does a good to very good job at it; but not the "OMG that is so cool" job that we are use to in the other areas of IDEA.

It really might be worth JetBrain's time and money to do a usability study on project setup. Have some developers that have never used IDEA before, and without any input to them, setup a number of projects (both from scratch and an existing source). See how long it takes them. Track their mouse movement. Track their eye movement to see how they search for things. Track their hitting of the back button in the wizard. Etc. Then get their feedback.

It might also be worthwhile to survey EAP users to find out how they structure their projects: source code layout; library layout; where they like to put the ipr, iml and iws files, etc. What do they like and dislike about project setup.

That's my 2 cents on the subject.

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doliver wrote:

The thing that drew me to IDEA 2.x was the sheer

simplicity

of getting up and running with a new project.


I had a very similar experience.


Same here. I tried IDEA, NetBeans and Eclipse, and of them IDEA (4.5.x) was the easiest to get started with (in Eclipse I did not even manage to start a new Java project because the Welcome screen was too confusing), so that's what I stick with (also I had heard other people recommending it, so that affected my decision as well). My editor before that was JCreator, but after a couple of years of Java coding it was too limited, and it did not support generics when Java 5 was released, so I was forced to find something better.

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