Before you start
It's a good time to be a Web developer. You've never had more choices in terms of technologies. There are so many great open source Web servers, databases, programming languages, and development frameworks. No matter what combination of technologies you prefer to work with, there is a single integrated development environment (IDE) that can increase your productivity: Eclipse.
In this "Web development with Eclipse Europa" series, you'll see how no matter what your language of choice is, Eclipse is the platform for Web development. Its flexible plug-in system makes it easy to create versions of Eclipse customized for Web development with the Java, PHP, and Ruby languages. You'll see how different plug-ins give Eclipse unique capabilities for each language. You'll also see some of the common features all Web developers can take advantage of. Throughout this series, we will be creating a sample Web application, which will allow us to enter baseball game data for players and calculate statistics for those players.
Ruby on Rails continues to grow in popularity. TIOBE Software quality-tracking data shows that Ruby is the fastest growing language year over year in terms of popularity, and Rails is the main reason for that. One of the things that makes Rails so appealing is that it makes your job much easier. How would you like to make your job even easier? All you have to do is give Eclipse a try. No, this is not an attempt to get you to switch to Java technology. Eclipse can be used for Web development with Ruby just as easily as with Java technology. The Eclipse Ruby Development Toolkit and RadRails make this possible.
In Part 2, we talk about some of the benefits of using an IDE with PHP. Most of what was discussed there is equally applicable to Ruby, and that was the inspiration for the Ruby Development Toolkit (RDT). The RDT provides all the basics you would expect of an IDE: syntax highlighting, coloring, and validation, code completion and formatting, and project organization. It also has a Ruby debugger, an essential tool for large projects. There are also some Ruby-specific features, like a regular expression (regex) editor/tester and unit testing support via integration with Test::Unit.
This tutorial, Part 3 of the three-part series, introduces the RDT and RadRails Eclipse plug-ins. It shows how to get these plug-ins and start using them. You will learn how to use RadRails to do many common Ruby on Rails development tasks. And you will see how RadRails makes it easier than ever to test and debug Rails applications.
This tutorial is all about Web development with Ruby, and Web development with Ruby is pretty much synonymous with Ruby on Rails, so it is assumed you have some experience with Ruby on Rails. Familiarity with Eclipse is useful, but not required. This tutorial builds on applications built with the Java and PHP languages in Part 1 and Part 2. A background in Java and Ruby programming is essential for getting the most out of this tutorial.
You need the following:
- This tutorial uses Ruby V1.8.6. You also need Rails, and this tutorial uses the Mongrel Web server. Install both of these using Ruby's package manager, RubyGems.
- Ruby Development Toolkit
- This tutorial shows you how to develop Web applications using Ruby, so you need the Ruby Development Toolkit and RadRails. Both are Eclipse plug-ins, and this tutorial explains how to install them.
- Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers
- You'll also need the Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers.
- Java Runtime Environment (JRE)
- To run Eclipse, you must have a JRE.
- Apache Tomcat
- The application uses a Apache Tomcat as its container.
- MySQL V5.0
- The application uses MySQL V5.0 as its database.
- Java Persistence API
- You will also need the Java Persistence API and, in particular, the OpenJPA implementation.
- Eclipse PHP Development Toolkit (PDT)
- This tutorial shows you how to develop Web applications using PHP, so you'll need the PHP Development Toolkit You can get this as a set of plug-ins for an existing Eclipse installation. If you're new to Eclipse, you can get an all-in-one installation that includes the Eclipse platform and the PDT plug-ins.
- You need PHP, so get the latest version, which at the time of this writing was V5.2.1.
- Apache HTTP Server
- You need a Web server that integrates with PHP. This tutorial was developed using Apache V2.0.59.
- Fancy PHP debugger
- You need a PHP debugger. We used the Zend Debugger V5.2.10.
- Operating system
- You need an operating system capable of running all of the above. We used Mac OS X when creating this series, but you can use a modern version of Windows® or Linux®, as well. Adjust locations of files accordingly.