To view this topic for the preceding IDE, see BASIS IDE Features.
Why an IDE?
By design, an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) makes creating computer software more convenient by combining all the necessary tools, such as an editor, debugger, and compiler into a single application. There are many advantages associated with the use of an open source development environment. Not only is the source code freely available for inspection, but it is also typically maintained by a large community of volunteers and interested commercial entities. Generous license terms enable the code to be modified in order to correct its shortcomings or provide features beyond the intent of the original authors. If designed to allow it, an open-source IDE can be extended with user-written software modules, called “plug-ins”, which change its appearance, functionality, and purpose by adding new capabilities. This generally means an extendable open source IDE created to support a specific programming language can be equipped with specially designed software plug-ins to develop other languages as well.
Since the early days of BBj, BASIS has used open source IDE projects as the foundation on which to build Business BASIC developer tools. This practice allows taking advantage of proven software design infrastructure and offering a more sophisticated product than would otherwise be possible. The first edition of the BASIS IDE was delivered with BBj version 2.0 and was based on NetBeans, a Java IDE at that time owned by Sun Microsystems and later sold to Oracle. As of BBj version 13, BASIS transitioned to Eclipse, a Java IDE project originally developed by IBM and currently managed by the Eclipse Foundation.
NetBeans vs Eclipse
Due to the tight coupling between BBj and the plug-in modules written for NetBeans, which provided the Business BASIC language capability, BASIS distributed a specific version of the NetBeans IDE and referred to the product as the BASIS IDE. Users could not go to the NetBeans website, download the latest version of the NetBeans IDE, drop in the BASIS-developed plug-ins and expect to use it as the BASIS IDE. Instead, BASIS supplied a specially tailored version of NetBeans on the BASIS product download website that configured as the BASIS IDE during the BBj product install.
BASIS offers a slightly different paradigm with the Eclipse IDE. Only the BASIS-developed plug-ins for Business BASIC development are available on the BASIS website, rather than the entire IDE. Users are free to get a BASIS-compatible version of the Eclipse IDE directly from the www.eclipse.org website and install it to a location of their choice. After Eclipse installation is complete, the BASIS plug-ins for Eclipse are installed from within Eclipse itself. BASIS makes every effort to update the plugins for the latest versions of Eclipse and Java, but depending on the extent or magnitude of changes introduced by the new versions, there may be a delay before the latest version of Eclipse will be fully supported.