Git / Eclipse / The egit Plugin / My Perspectives

I’ve starting working in Git for some of my Ruby work, and I’m trying to work some Eclipse integration into the mix. I’m a big fan of IDE’s from the standpoint that IDE’s can provide some real efficiencies for certain environments. For example, I use Aptana Studio for my Ruby development, and I really like some of the features.

One of my complaints so far, however, is that Git has lagged behind Subversion in terms of quality integration with the IDE, or simply visual client inspectors in general. Frankly, when I work in version control (such as subversion), I expect that my IDE will be able to diff between two branches in the version control system (VCS), and I expect to be able to “double click” a file, and see a simple diff between two versions of the same file. That should ALL be integrated.

I shouldn’t be hand cobbling together a loose consolidation of tools that all don’t work very well in order to inspect the files and work with them for a diff’ing operation, and when I reconcile code changes between two branches… well, excuse me if I think that the best tools should have those features integrated. Purists might disagree, but if I’m at the command line, manually comparing text diffs between two files… I don’t feel that efficient.

Let’s be honest here moment #1:

Tortoise, the windows client for Subversion releases by, is one of the MAIN reasons behind the widespread acceptance of Subversion. What does it do well? It provides an environment for quickly browsing and merging changes graphically, and while it is an external tool, it’s tied directly into the file explorer (like it or hate it, users understand it).

Let’s be honest here moment #2:

Not all developers have the same skill level. Not all developers are going to immediately understand how to transition to a new VCS tool, and they aren’t all going to jump there unless the basics (installing it, basic checkin / out, basic merge functionality) is at LEAST on par with what they currently use. At least not en masse.

It’s this fact alone that was responsible for some of the changes in the Eclipse development platform with respect to downloading and installing things like VCS / Team providers. The menu completely changed in the most recent versions to a graphical menu that prompts you to download the appropriate native SVN or SVNkit libraries. Basically, you’ll get a significant uptick in usage if you spend more time on making the initial install painless.

This brings me to egit, which is the latest effort to bring Git functionality to Eclipse through the Mylyn team integration. It looks very basic for the moment, and I certainly applaud the effort. This is what it will take to bring Git mainstream. But…. in spite of the simplicity, I can’t get it to work for some Git projects.

Simply trying to share a new project through the team menu results, for me, the dreaded “spinning beachball of death”, meaning that that eclipse simply locks up… (boo!). After selecting my new project (already under Git control), my system simply locks up.


The primary issue here seems to be that my project is ALREADY under Git control. If I attempt to use the Team -> Share -> Git option for non-VCS controlled directories, things seem to work normally.

Anyhow, I’ve logged what I think is my issue over at the google code issue tracker for the egit project. Let me know if you see something similar yourselves!

Other than that, however, I certainly appreciate the first steps that are being taken by the egit team!


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