You don't need to confine yourself to all the serious stuff when using Eclipse. There's a number of plugins available that have nothing to do with programming, but are useful for programmers. Eclipse can be turned into an entertainment center with things like Google searches, media players, games and RSS feeds.
Our previous EclipseZone article described how to create a YouTube plugin for Eclipse, and there's a lot more plugins already written so you don't need to do the hard work.
- Google Gadgets
I have a thing for Google gadgets - they're really useful and if you're missing the cool factor for a website, a gadget is sometimes the answer. EGadget provide a plugin that comes with a set of three Google Gadgets but allows you to add new ones by adding extensions in your plugin.xml file for the plugin.
[img_assist|nid=1405|title=|desc=Google Gadgets embedded in Eclipse|link=none|align=left|width=500|height=375]
The following example shows how to create a new addition to your Gadgets. Just provide a new id and name under the view section, and in the gadgetViewConfig extension add in a new URL and reference the view. When you click on the Window/Show View... menu item you'll see your new gadget.
<extension point="org.eclipse.ui.views"> <category id="com.eobjectsoft.egadget" name="%gadget.view.category"/> <view category="com.eobjectsoft.egadget" class="com.eobjectsoft.egadget.views.GadgetView" icon="icons/sample.gif" id="com.eobjectsoft.egadget.views.talkview" name="%gadget.view.talk.name"/> </extension> <extension point="com.eobjectsoft.egadget.gadgetViewConfig"> <gadgetView viewId="com.eobjectsoft.egadget.views.talkview"/> <gadgetInfo url="http://gmodules.com/ig/ifr?url=http://www.google.com/ig/modules/googletalk.xml&synd=open&w=320&h=451&title=Google+Talk&border=%23ffffff%7C3px%2C1px+solid+%23999999&output=js"/> </extension>
If you've got tired of your PS3 or XBox and want to go back to basics with games, EclipseGames will give you what you want. It's not a comprehensive list, but it includes Minesweeper and Snake.
There's also Sudoku for Eclipse, if you feel like more of a challenge.
Most developers I know use a messenger client every day - I guess it's faster to type a quick message than to have to get up and talk to someone! The EIMP plugin supports MSN, Yahoo, Jabber and more.
You'll always want to keep up with the latest news - firing up a browser each time you want to check is a pain, so it's nice to have you RSS integrated with your development environment.
RSS View has an update site available for an easy installation at http://www.junginger.biz/eclipse. When you run the update you'll get the option to add a few more plugins, but none are really entertainment related.
You can add new feeds through the menus provided on the view, or the Eclipse preferences page.
Developers Jukebox provides a full music player that you can access by opening the Jukebox perspective. New music files can be added by using the Import... feature. If you like to listen to music while you code, it makes sense to add in a plugin to Eclipse instead of having a seperate application.
I started this article with the aim of showing how Eclipse could be used as an entertainment centre. But after completing it I think it shows that you've no real reason to leave your development environment. It's a bit like a company with loads of perks that subconciously just makes you work harder!
If you have any interesting, non-work related plugins let me know.