Perl editing with Eclipse

Part of the problem with developing Java is the plethora of IDEs out there, and the lack of standardisation. It’s not really a problem with IDEs as much as with Java server platforms, as IDEs are largely the same; server platforms are rarely the same.

With Perl, the lack of standardisation in IDEs is not considered as much a problem, for the simple reason that many Perl programmers are really old-school, and tend to prefer simple text editors. Most of my recent Perl work has been done through Vim.

However, after teaching a Java course recently through a combination of Eclipse and ConTEXT, I had a look at Eclipse’s support for Perl, particularly with a view to debugging support; Vim doesn’t have native step-through debugging, and Eclipse seems already suited to things like that.

If you’re already familiar with debugging in Eclipse, then the EPIC plugin is well worth looking at for its Perl support.

It’s got stepped debugging within the Debug perspective, just like Eclipse has with other languages. Its Perl support is not as strong as the Java support — the Watch features and relatively simple editor features like refactoring support leave a lot to be desired — but it’s got an easier learning curve than e.g. “perl -d” (the ‘standard’ way to debug perl), or even learning a new editor like Emacs, with its Perl debugging integration. Of course, as a Vim user I haven’t even learned to hack Perl in Emacs…


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