A major new version of the Eclipse software development platform was released on 24th of June. It was the ninth annual release of the Eclipse project – Galileo with the Eclipse Platform 3.5. The Eclipse Galileo release includes 33 projects which translates into a large number of new features. In this article I will present the 6 features that I have enjoyed so far.
1. Switch editors and multi-page editors
A good programmer uses keyboard shortcuts to improve the speed of development. Eclipse offers many useful keyboard shortcuts to work more effectively. One of them is Ctrl+PageDown/PageUp that allows to navigate between open editors. The feature was improved for multi-page editors: the shortcut always activates the next or previous editor tab. To switch between pages in multi-page editor, use Alt+PageDown/PageUp.
2. Block selection mode
All textual editors support block selection mode that can be activated by Alt+Shift+A. The block selection mode can be really useful when writing technical documentation or a blog post.
3. toString() method generation
A new source action to generate toString() method introduced in a new Eclipse allows a Java developer creating customized toString() method. The toString() method is often used to display the value of selected fields. If there are many fields in a class, writing a toString() method to return they values as String can be time consuming. It has changed now. No boring toString() method coding. Let the Eclipse do it for you.
4. View test result files in JUnit view
Unit testing is important and working with JUnit tests in Eclipse is extremely straightforward. When I have a number of JUnit tests in the project the first thing I do is write an Ant build file to run them all automatically with JUnit task and to save output to the XML file with the XML formatter. The new Eclipse allows to open XML files generated by Ant JUnit task with the JUnit view. As an alternative a developer can still use other Ant task, JUnitreport, that produces the HTML output, but sometimes it is more convenient to open the result directly with Eclipse.
5. XML perspective and XPath view
New, exciting XML perspective is available in the newest Web Platform Tools (eclipse.org/webtools) which offers XPath view. The XPath view allows to execute XPath expressions against the XML file that is being edited. All the found nodes are immediately selected in the editor. The XPath view is extremely useful while editing large XML files.
6. XSL support
The Web Platform Tools comes with nice support for XSL. It includes an editor with syntax coloring, content assist, Xslt validation, the debugger and launching with configured Xslt processor.
I am curious about your experiences with this new release of Eclipse Galileo. Feel free to share your thoughts below.
Note: I use the Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers that can be downloaded here: eclipse.org/downloads