I have to admit that after working on some simple Android apps using Vim and building on the command line, I realized to my dismay that I was missing some of the bloat from Eclipse, specifically the automatic handling of import statements.
I could just use Eclipse, but it’s too slow for me. If text input becomes even at all sluggish because the compiler is running in the background, it’s too slow. I’m not the only one who thinks this: Brad Fitzpatrick said the same thing in Coders at Work. Some people might just say “get a more powerful development machine,” but I don’t think that’s really fair. It might solve the problem, since I’ve been working on a netbook (I’m about to upgrade to a Macbook Pro, for all the same old reasons, despite new mixed feelings about Apple). It still doesn’t solve the problem that I want to use Vim and not Eclipse. So I started looking around for other people who hack Java in Vim. I quickly stumbled upon Eclim, which is a brilliant tool.
Basically it runs Eclipse in a server-mode and provides Vim with code completion, validation, import handling and more through a bunch of Vimscripts. What’s really nice is that Vim is still pretty fast, in part probably because it doesn’t actually do the continuous compiling all the time, but instead only compiles and validates when you save a file. I struggled a little bit to get it to find the Android libraries, but eventually it worked. (I hadn’t pointed the ADT plugin to the SDK directory in Eclipse, but I think it would be fine if your Eclipse is already properly configured first.)