eclipse 3.5 – four good, 1 bad feature

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eclipse 3.5 – four good, 1 bad feature

July 17th, 2009 by Jeanne Boyarsky

I’ve been using Eclipse 3.5 for a couple months now making it a good time to share the features that affected me the most – 4 good; 1 bad.

Getting started

Quick install with favorite plugins:

My Eclipse 3.4 workspace was starting to get corrupted making it a good time to make a clean break.  It wasn’t too time consuming to download/install Eclipse and create a new workspace.  I also installed the plugins I use regularly as I wanted them installed before switching to do development in the new workspace.
Sysdeo – For Tomcat with Eclipse.
Subclipse - For Subversion repository access.  The install of this one leaves something to be desired, but that’s not Eclipse’s fault.  it’s a license thing.
Ecl emma – For code coverage.
PMD – For static analysis.

Workspace setup:

1) Pulling in the source code from SVN is trivial.
2) I tweaked a few settings in the preferences.  I could create an epf file, but I hadn’t changed much in the old workspace.  This was a good opportunity to look at the new preferences in any case.
3) Then there’s the “what I need to do project” – it’s not committed to SVN (which is an accident waiting to happen) – but I have all the information in my gmail account or in my head.  The bulk of that project was a “todo.txt” file which I used to keep track of what tasks I wanted to work on for JavaRanch.  This file is now gone.  Which brings me to my favorite feature #1.

Features

Favorite feature #1 – Task Lists

This feature is awesome!  It replaced my “todo.txt” file for keeping track of stuff. (It’s different than //TODO or //FIXME because it isn’t necessarily tied to code.)  You can specify the status, a due date, categories and estimates.  I’m one of those organized types who likes keeping lists.  At work, I have a piece of paper I write on as I code with little things that come to mind, test cases I need to write, other tasks, etc.  At home, I was using the “todo.txt” file in Eclipse because I have less desk space than at work.  This makes the transition to an actual task list system a natural one and a pleasure.  I also started using gmail’s tasks around the same time.  They serve different purposes.  Eclipse for development.  Gmail for other things.  Did I mention I really like this feature?

Favorite feature #2 – “Open with”

When you use “open type” there is a drop down next to open that lets you choose the “open with” option.  This is really nice.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried using open type on a JSP to have it tell me my encryption settings aren’t correct.  I know the solution – open in a text editor – but that wasn’t the default before.  A minor annoyance, but nice to see it resolved.

Favorite feature #3 – Export/import JUnit results

Being able to send an XML file to co-workers about failing tests beats a screenshot.   Especially in terms of seeing the stack trace for “it works on my machine” type bugs.

Favorite feature #4 – Generate toString

This speaks for itself. And easy way to generate toString so it spits out all the fields is a nice time saver.

And the worst feature

Code formatting.  What happened?  This used to work intuitively and well in Eclipse 3.4.  In Java, it gets rid of my careful placed (for readability) whitespace between lines.  I checked the preferences and “number of empty lines to preserve” is set to one.  HTML is much worse.  If I format a bunch of lines containing one <input> per line, Eclipse turns this

<input type=”hidden” name=”action” value=”moveAllSave” />
<input type=”hidden” name=”module” value=”${moduleName}” />
<input type=”hidden” name=”source_forum_id” value=”${sourceForumId}” />
<input type=”hidden” name=”log_type” value=”0″ />
<input type=”hidden” name=”log_description” value=”bulk move from admin console”>

into this

<input type=”hidden” name=”action” value=”moveAllSave” /> <input
type=”hidden” name=”module” value=”${moduleName}” /> <input
type=”hidden” name=”source_forum_id” value=”${sourceForumId}” /> <input
type=”hidden” name=”log_type” value=”0″ /> <input type=”hidden”
name=”log_description” value=”bulk move from admin console”>

Huh?  That didn’t happen before.   I tried setting “never join lines” but it doesn’t take effect for HTML. I guess I’m not relying on the code formatting.  Unfortunate as it will slow things down.  But yuck.  Just look at it.

Comments

Comment from Carter Page
Posted: July 18, 2009 at 10:00 am

Totally agree on the features. Also, great recommended plugins. I’m playing around with a couple of them now.

Comment from Neil
Posted: August 17, 2009 at 1:33 pm

yeah, the code formatting for web pages is quite awful. Although, for me this has always been the case and is not new for galileo. Did you ever find a “fix” for this?

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: August 17, 2009 at 8:34 pm

> Did you ever find a “fix” for this?
No. Although to be honest, I only use Eclipse 3.5 outside of work. Less time to happen upon a fix.

Comment from Roel De Nijs
Posted: February 12, 2010 at 6:01 am

I tried to format the same code snippet with Eclipse Galileo (build-id: 20090920-1017) and each just remained on its own line. Glad they did, because code formatting is another great feature (if it behaves correctly of course)

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: February 13, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Roel,
Thanks for sharing that they fixed it! I’ll be upgrading to a later 3.5 build now.

Pingback from eclipse 3.6 (helios) – four good, 1 bad feature | Down Home Country Coding With Scott Selikoff and Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: September 9, 2010 at 9:05 pm

[...] summer, I wrote “eclipse 3.5 – four good, 1 bad feature“.  A year later and Eclipse 3.6 is out.   I didn’t try it earlier because I was busy [...]

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