Since eclipse 1.0 has been released back in November 2001 it has evolved into a pretty popular and feature rich IDE. I remember using eclipse 2.0.1 first time, it was pretty much only a Java development IDE with little support for application containers. Soon eclipse 3.5 (galileo) arrives supporting a wide palette of programming languages, programming models and execution environments, application containers, etc. The past 3 months I had been testing galileo from early milestone releases and been happy with it – also with my favourite eclipse plugins that I use in my daily business.
Here I briefly show some of the many features that I like:
Install New Software
I believe with eclipse 3.4 the user interface for updating/installing plugins has been pretty much messed up. Seems the eclipse engineers have done a good job to fix it up again. It has never been so easy and intuitive (with drag & drop support for update-site URLs) to install and update an eclipse plugin. But even more important, now it is possible to export bookmarks of your favourite plugins (you can select them plugin by plugin) and import them into another eclipse installation (e.g. for switching to a new eclipse release).
Type Filter (eclipse 3.4)
With a large number of libraries in the classpath it gets pretty overloaded in the type search dialogs. Mostly you find lots of classes that you never want to deal with directly. E.g. classes from the com.sun.* packages. Still you have to skip over them while searching for some other classes. By defining a type filter you can suppress any package you are not interested in.
I usually would use the ToStringBuilder from the Apache commons-lang package to implement any toString() method. As of eclipse 3.5 the Source->generate toString()… feature can be customized to support the commons-lang ToStringBuilder pattern.
Format edited lines only (eclipse 3.4)
In a team environment it is important that everybody is using the same formatting rules for auto-formatting the source code. Otherwise code comparison / mergeing can get pretty nasty. However sometimes this is not the case. Still eclipse can help to minimize the impact of autoformatting. You can choose the option to format only the code portion that has been actually changed.
Breadcrumbs (eclipse 3.4)
Eclipse has always had a perspective called Java Browsing (some heritage from good old Visual Age). I never really liked it, as it consumes quite a lot of space of the workbench. With eclipse 3.4 the eclipse team introduced the so called breadcrumbs (Alt-Shift-B) which is showing almost they same information but much is more compact. It allows you to quickly jump between packages, classes, members, etc.
Alt-Shift-A activates a special editing mode where it is possible to select any rectangular text area and copy / paste it.