Friday, July 20, 2007
One of the first things I noticed is a significant improvement in performance. My machine isn't a lightweight by any stretch but, Eclipse 3.2 definitely used some resources. Now that I am using the newer version, things flow much faster. (One of my co-workers posted about using Europa on an older computer ; he seemed to thing it worked pretty well)
Being a major proponent of keyboard shortcuts, I have to say, some of the changes interrupted my programming flow. For example, I usually follow the method of test driven development. So, I often used the short-cut "ctrl-F11" to run the last thing (usually, my jUnit test). With Europa, I found that it launched a contextual dialog based on the current file.
Fortunately, the preferences allowed me to switch it back to the previous behavior.
Cool, if things change, at least it is pretty intuitive to get back to the normal way of working. Finding the preference literally took about 30 seconds.
Most of the other shortcuts still work as expected.
There are some nice new refactoring options too.
Really cool is, "Introduce Parameter Object". Select a method, hit alt+shift+t for the refactoring menu. Then "P" to select that option.
This allows you to replace a bunch of parameters with a single object. It also changes all of the calls to method to use the new object. Great for refactoring old code.
The next is "Introduce Indirection". This one is really great when you are refactoring code that uses an external API. Especially when you need to implement an interface that you can't change. I found a great article, "Unleashing the Power of Refactoring", that covers this one with great detail.
In the web tools (WTP), there is a new page editor. It is a split pane editor with the page on the top and the source on the bottom. They scroll together, and changes are shown "live".
The horizontal split is a little weird at first. I like a whole page of code. But, you can now have multiple editors open for the same file. To quote Rachel Ray, "How cool is that?"
Even better, most of the editors have built in spell check with ctrl+1 auto-correction. Javadocs, html, properties files,.....
It is rare that a minor release (3.2 to 3.3) of any software has such great improvements. But, for adding new features that can stay out of the way, for improving performance, and stability, I give Europa two thumbs up.
Can anybody ever remember an update to any IDE that performs better on the same hardware?
I forgot to mention, the contextual auto-complete. This gets better in every release. It's funny that I can't point out anything specific but, just notice how I find I keep getting closer to the point of "thought->code".
An interesting post mentions a little more about it.
Aren't the best changes, the ones that help you work better without realizing that anything has changed?
I can't wait for a revival of the emacs/vi war over minimum keystrokes happening with Eclipse/NetBeans.