Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Eclipse Europa - the Good and the Bad

After using Eclipse Europa for the past couple of days, I thought that it would be a good idea to share my thoughts on this latest release.

the Good...
This new version of Eclipse has many wonderful and new features and shortcuts. My two top features are the CTRL+3 and the View folding.

CTRL+3 allows you to search across the entire Eclipse platform, matching on Views, Menu Items, and other parts of the Eclipse system. I am a huge fan of keyboard shortcuts. I believe that through their use, you can save lots of time and increase productivity. If you do not believe me, think about the time that it takes to move your hand from the keyboard to the mouse and click on a menu item. It may not seem like a lot of time, but how many times do you do this during the day? week? month? This shortcut just adds to my arsenal of productivity boosts.

The other enhancement that I am enjoying is the folding of the Views. In the older versions of Eclipse, when you collapsed a view stack that resided on the left portion of the screen, they would leave a thin collapsed view on the screen. Now, when collapsing views, they completely collapse and minimize to the left most portion of the screen. This leaves much more room for the work that you are actually focusing on.

the Bad...
Yes, believe it or not, there is something that I do not like about the new version. It goes back to my earlier statement of short-cut keys and committing them to memory to boost productivity. In Eclipse 3.2, I often found myself needing to surround code with a try catch block. I did it so often that I found a shortcut key that would do it for me. That shortcut key was Alt+Shift+Z, 4, as shown by the screen capture.

For some reason, in the Europa version, they decided to change this. Instead of it being Alt+Shift+Z, 4 it is now Alt+Shift+Z, 6. I know that this may seem minor, however when you get used to using something, like a short-cut, I don't think that you should ever change it. It makes me wonder what else they may change in the future.

Overall, my impression of the new version of Eclipse is absolutely great. I have enjoyed this release thus far, and I am looking forward to learning more about it in the future.

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