New Eclipse Plugin Available February 15th

Hello Apex Programmers:

If you are reading this, I can confidently address you as “programmers”, because if not, your eyes would have quickly skipped to the next item when they saw the word “Eclipse”.  You, however, are not scared of Eclipse!  You stare directly at it.  (Note: do not stare directly at a solar eclipse.)

We will release a new version of the Eclipse plug-in for Spring ’13 on February 15th.  What’s that, you say?  A “silent release” with no officially sanctioned date?  And a week or two after the actual release?!?  Before you call “shenanigans” on us, please allow me to explain…

For every release of Salesforce, we release an updated version of the Eclipse plug-in.  We always do this a few weeks after the actual release, rather than on the release date.  And it’s not because we are lazy!  We are ready to release it today, but we wait.

We wait because the Eclipse plug-in is software.  You may have seen our logo – it’s the word “software” with a big line through it.  No Software.  The rest of our stuff is not-software in that you are not installing it on your environment, but accessing it in ours.  If we make a mistake, we can push a change directly to the central codebase, and you get the updated, correct version the next time you access the not-software.

Since the plugin is software, we can’t patch it as efficiently as the core Salesforce product.  If we make a mistake with the Eclipse plug-in, and you’ve already installed it, you’re living with that mistake until you upgrade or reinstall.  Out of caution, we wait a week or two before releasing the eclipse plugin software (there’s that word again).  This ensures that the latest API versions are stable and that we release the final final final versions in the plugin update.

You may have noticed that Salesforce staggers our release dates.  There are several different time windows in which various sandboxes and production pods get upgraded from Winter to Spring.  The IDE plug-in is backward compatible, but we do not make it forward-compatible!  We must wait until after all instances have been upgraded (February 9th for the Spring ’13 release) so that everyone’s org is using the same version as or greater than the IDE plugin.  Things would not work if you had an org with a lower version than the IDE plug-in.

Finally, we choose to wait until a week or two after the release as a matter of priority.  The development team’s top task is platform stability, so we wait for the release to stabilize before we publish the plug-in.

We appreciate your patience as we do this slightly off-cycle release, and we hope you understand the benefits to waiting for this “software”.

Happy Coding!

February 1, 2013

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New Eclipse Plugin Available February 15th