Java IDE Improvements, Top Eclipse Helios Feature #7

Java IDE Improvements, Top Eclipse Helios Feature #7

As Eclipse committers, we spend lots of time emphasizing that Eclipse is not just an Integrated Development Environment. Eclipse is a framework, a tooling platform, a collection of run-time technologies, an eco-system, etc… However, at the end of the day, an IDE is the primary use of Eclipse for many people.

As we approach the next major release of the Eclipse platform — Helios — I’ve been counting down the features I’m most excited about. Number 7 on my list are the Enhancements to Eclipse as an IDE. These are features that will make your life easier as a developer (many of these features are Java specific, but not all).

The Java Development Team has released a number of new code formatter options:

While these are cool, the most exciting one (in my opinion) is the ability to disable formatting for certain code blocks

There are even a number of improvements to comment formatting.

As well as code formatting, the JDT team has introduced some new capabilities including: a breakpoint details pane

object instance counts

and static analysis improvements:

Huge kudos go the very active JDT team, including: Jayaprakash Arthanareeswaran, Deepak Azad, Frederic Fusier, Walter Harley, Ayushman Jain, Satyam Kandula, Markus Keller, Dani Megert, Kim Moir, Michael Rennie, Srikanth Sankaran, Olivier Thomann, Raksha Vasisht, Curtis Windatt and Darin Wright.  Over the next year the JDT team will be focusing on Java 7 support. If you are interested in helping with this effort, why not get involved?

In addition to Java specific enhancements, the Eclipse Platform team has been working on general IDE improvements.  One feature that really caught my eye was improved patch support.  Last year the Platform team improved the Java Compare Editor. However, these changes did not extend to the apply patch wizard.  As of Eclipse 3.6 this doesn’t matter because you can now use the synchronize perspective to apply patches:

This makes patch review a much easier process, especially since you can now apply a patch directly from a URL:

The Platform team (especially Tomasz Zarna and Szymon Brandys) deserve the credit for this work.  Thanks everyone for making my life as a Java Developer easier.