I think Eclipse has finally reached a major crossroad with Eclipse 3.3 (Europa). Until now, Eclipse was a lot of fun as a tool as well as a community but its complexity has now reached the threshold that distinguishes New York from New Jersey.
If Eclipse is a boomtown which countless developers and companies continue to pour into, it now looks like LA, tiny downtown surrounded by endless expanse of suburban neighborhoods indistinguishable from each other other than by their names. Although one of the key pioneers behind Eclipse is Eric Gamma, one of the four authors of the infamous Design Patterns book, I feel that not enough attention is being paid to the original concepts that inspired the book, concepts captured in books by Christopher Alexander:
- The Timeless Way of Building
- A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction
- The Oregon Experiment
I've only read the first two (highly recommended, perfect for camping trips) but the basic idea is that a town is like a symphony in which houses, streets, rooms, doorways, and people's lives play parts. Design patterns make up the language of understanding, a tool essential for unravelling, rendering, and communicating complexity.
I suppose one could look at many Europa packages as ethnic neighborhoods but to me they look more like those bewildering avalanche of high-rise apartments in South Korea. It's a place to live but not a place of life.