Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Eclipse Helios RC4 Review

Some time ago I have downloaded the JEE edition of the Eclipse Helios RC4.
And here comes a review in order to win a Helios t-shirt.
I'll start with bugs I found till now. I didn't find many. Continue with features I still miss, and try to end with some positive note about the features I liked.


For a RC release there are really few bugs I found till now.
  • In Html Editor the div element does not get idented. Really annoying...
  • Sometimes the key bindings does not work in Package Explorer. For example, when I press F5 I expect "Refresh" to run. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't.

Missing Features

And not the features I still miss. Please notice: I'm a Java Developer. Meaning I'm talking here about features I miss mainly as a Java Developer and it may be irrelevant for the C/C++/Php and other users. So if you are not a Java Developer, you can probably skip this section.
  • Built-in Maven Support - It's 2010. Most projects I'm involved in the last 5 (five!) years, use Maven for builds, but Eclipse till today ships with Ant plugin only. Hey! Wake up! Almost nobody uses it anymore! And if even some does, there are a lot of Maven users, who need to install the Maven plugins manually. So can you do a favor and add it Maven plugin at least to the distributions for Java and JEE developers?
  • Subversion/Git support - same as Maven: most of the open source projects I know, use Subversion or Git. So may be it's time to include these plugins in the Eclipse distributions?
  • I'm really fond of the "Quick Fix" (Ctrl+1) feature of Eclipse. One suggestion that can be quite easily added to this feature: when there are not initialized final fields in the class, the following error is displayed: "The blank final field may not have been initialized". The quick fix may be to open "Generate Constructor using Fields" dialog.
  • It would be cool to collapse the generics in the fields declaration
    Instead of:
    private Map<String, Set<String>> map = new HashMap<String, Set<String>>();
    it could be:
    private Map<String, Set<String>> map = new HashMap<~>();

New Cool Features

Actually I didn't find many cool features in this release.
  • I'm really fond of "Quick Fix" (Ctrl+1) feature. One of the most annoying "bugs" that is had till now, was placing @SuppressWarnings annotation only on the method level. So now it has two options: place it on method and place it on variable.
  • Refactoring: Move Type to a New File - finally! I was missing this feature for a loooong time!
  • Java debugger has two new neat features: Breakpoints view now contains more details, like "hit count", "conditions" and so on. Variables view contains "instance count", so it is easy to check how many instances of the specific type were created.


I didn't find any new really cool features in this version of Eclipse. 3.5 was a great release, and this release looks like mainly bug fixes. Don't get me wrong: having a stable SDK without bugs is more important than having unstable one with a lot of features.
So nice work, guys! You are doing a great job!

If you got that far and read all this, you may be interested in the plugins I developed for Eclipse:
Tarlog plugins
Encoder Tool

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

Anton said...

Yep, build-in Maven support is really missing!