August 30, 2012

Getting started with AWS on Eclipse

Yesterday I had to install a few things from scratch on my Macbook air with Mac OS 10.7. It was ages since the last time I’ve installed the AWS Toolkit for Eclipse. What is Eclipse? A software development environment, which you can run on Windows, Mac OS X and any Linux flavor. What is the AWS Toolkit? A plugin for Eclipse that makes it easier to develop Java Applications that use Amazon Web Services. You can also use Java without Eclipse, with the appropriate SDK for Java. Instead, if you’re not into Java, we have an SDK for PHP, Ruby and other languages, as well a detailed section for Python developers.

Back to Eclipse. There are different flavors of Eclipse, and it’s important to pick the EE version (“Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers”) to be able to use the AWS Toolkit, otherwise you might encounter some errors. After installing the “plain” Eclipse (EE version), you have to download the AWS Toolkit by going to Menu -> Help -> Install new software:

Figure 1: Getting started with Eclipse

In the “Work with” field, you should enter, and then Eclipse will find its way to get the Toolkit. You can even specify if you want to download the Toolkit for all services, or only for a selected few.

Figure 2: Install new software.

During installation, you will notice that some content is unsigned. You can proceed, or uncheck the part related to Amazon Simple WorkFlow (SWF).

Figure 3: warning

You complete the installation, restart Eclipse, enter the path of your workspace (where Eclipse will save all your projects), and then you need to complete a couple more steps. Open the Amazon Web Services icon on the top left:

Figure 4: The AWS menu in Eclipse

From there you go to Preferences, and enter your AWS credentials, in order to be able to “call” APIs properly.

Figure 5: Entering your AWS Credentials

Nice, you’re all set. Now you can use the AWS Explorer and start playing around with the services that you want. Here below you can see some simple actions with Amazon DynamoDB:

Figure 6: playing around with Amazon DynamoDB in Eclipse

When using Amazon Web Services, you might want to use Eclipse to develop your applications, especially if you use Java. Many python developers prefer a text-based editor, or Eclipse plugins such as PyDev, (and, yes, the discussion around which one is best is quite hot), but sometimes these solutions don’t integrate well with AWS, and require you to do things manually. I’m not an expert coder (I was quite good years ago, but now I simply don’t code often enough), therefore I’ll leave the answer open.

Well, this was a rather simple, but hopefully clear, introduction on how to get started with Amazon Web Services, using Eclipse. You might also take a look at this official AWS document on how to get started with Eclipse.

I plan to write a follow-up blog post specific to DynamoDB. Would you like it? If so, what would you like me to cover?