' Eclipse in Action ' offers a smooth introduction into the efficient use of the Eclipse IDE assuming the reader is already familiar with Java. The authors demonstrate typical tasks by documenting the development of sample applications step by step, but they succeed in conveying the broader picture too. Even if the settings chosen for the examples don't fit the reader's next project the explanations of Eclipse's design enable him to look for the relevant switches in the correct dialogue.
In their description of the various plug-ins, Gallardo et al. manage to explain the very basics of CVS, Ant, unit testing, code refactoring, the logging library log4j and web development. The short introductions cannot replace further reading, of course and a bibliography is among the few things I missed in the book, but the explanations are sufficient to allow even inexperienced programmers to follow the examples.
In the second part of the book the authors turn to a topic that is likely to be of interest to a much smaller group of developers; the development of Eclipse plug-ins. Since Eclipse is completely composed of plug-ins, except for a small core, the background knowledge presented in this part may come in handy if you ever encounter problems with the IDE.
Although three authors wrote the book there is no noticeable break in the language. They manage to keep an unobtrusive and easy to read style. Numerous screen-shots make it easy to follow even if you are not in front of your computer. The book's editorial quality is exemplary.
' Eclipse in Action ' is not exactly low priced, but if you can fit it into your budget and you want to familiarise yourself with Eclipse then this book is certainly worth reading. Long time users of Eclipse may still find tips they did not know about, but unless they'd like to extend Eclipse themselves - in which case the second part will considerably help them to get started - I doubt the insights the book has to offer them justifies the expense.