Before you start
For many Perl programmers, the typical development environment is probably an editor like Emacs coupled with a command-line environment. The problem is you tend to spend most of your day switching between Emacs and the command line, and it gets worse if you are doing Web development, as you have to switch between Emacs, your command line, and your Web browser as you write, execute, and check logs for information. Surprisingly, there are few IDEs that have really captured the Perl programmer's imagination over the years, which is why EPIC and Eclipse fills such a void.
EPIC is a complete plug-in suite that supports a new "nature" within Eclipse. The EPIC plug-in incorporates extensions to the editor so that it understands Perl structure and layout. The plug-in also adds additional views and interfaces to your code, and related information enables you to view documentation, execute your Perl applications, and debug them.
This tutorial will look at the basics of the EPIC plug-in before moving on to an examination of the EPIC system using a real-world example, developing a small module and script entirely within Eclipse that supports RSS parsing. You'll use this as an opportunity to examine other areas, such as the integration with Perldoc, code folding and refactoring -- all of which can make the application development process run more smoothly. By the end, you will have a good understanding of how the EPIC plug-in can be used to develop your Perl applications within Eclipse.
You will need the following tools before you can make good use of EPIC:
- Eclipse V3.0 or 3.1
- Java technology V1.3, 1.4, or higher
- Perl V5.8.6 or higher. A version of Perl is included with most UNIX® and Linux® installations, and Mac OS X. On Windows®, use ActivePerl.