Eclipse Upgrade Improves Editor, Nav Support

For Java developers looking for less platform-specific tools, the Eclipse Consortium has released its latest upgrade. Features include better GUI and nav support, improved ability to work with external tools and libraries, including support for Ant, and better editing and debugging. See the latest.

Tags: Plug-in, Features, Eclipse, Imports, Workspace, Editor, Java,

Here's a Quick Guide to some notable Eclipse upgrade features:

Eclipse Platform:

External tools now use debugger-style launch configurations, so a developer can let an Ant build run or launch an external program and still continue to work in the Eclipse IDE.

To better integrate with external libraries or source code directories that cannot readily be copied into an Eclipse workspace, developers can link a file/folder to an existing location in the file system outside of the workspace, They can also now customize key bindings using Workbench > Keys preference page.

The resource Navigator view is no longer tightly linked to the currently open editor by default, so closing or switching editors does not change the selection in the Navigator view.

Plug-In Development Environment

There are new File > Export wizards for exporting plug-in and features. Choose File->Export->Deployable plug-ins and fragments to export selected plug-ins to a ZIP file that can be easily unzipped into any Eclipse-based product. Similarly, choose File > Export > Deployable features to export selected features and their plug-ins.

Importing external plug-ins and fragments can also be done via linking. This new option can be used by unchecking the 'copy plug-in content into your workspace area' checkbox in the 'Import External Plug-ins and Fragments' wizard. But, 'Importing with linking' means that the import operation will not copy the resources being imported into your workspace. It will simply create links to the files being imported.

The PDE also now supports building and maintaining Update Manager update sites. Use the new project wizard Plug-in Development > Update Site Project to create a dedicated project with all the relevant files including the site map (site.xml) file.

In addition, to determine the extent to which you need this plug-in, and it might help you refactor your plug-ins, PDE will compute the extent to which any plug in is dependent upon another, and find and display all the Java types and extension points provided by plug-in X to your plug-in. the changes in the self-hosting style (external plug-ins versus imported binary projects).

More Eclipse Resources

Eclipse's Java tools are more customizable, allowing better help and annotation of editors. In addition, a series of Quick Fixes has been added to help solve other common Java problems, such as (a) Creating missing constructors; (b) removing unused private methods, fields or types; or (c) fixing ambiguous imports (also suggests Organize Imports)

The Java Debugger sports a new view of Threads and Monitors to show which threads are holding locks and which are waiting to acquire locks. In addition, It is now possible using a Boolean expression to declare conditional breakpoints that are triggered whenever the value of an expression changes. Code assist is now available when typing the in the conditional expression. More flexible Java source and output paths

Several enhanced Refactoring features, including one to allow develoeprs to move the method to the declared class of one of its parameters or fields. This creates a new method and converts the old method into a delegate (passing it a pointer to this if necessary).
The complete list of Eclipse R2.1 features, and a download, is available.