REVIEW: Eclipse 3.5's Many New Features Work Together to Make Developers More Productive
eWEEK Labs finds Eclipse has greatly matured from its early, much slower days. Today, the application development platform can aptly be described as powerful and feature-rich.The recent 3.5 release of Eclipse, code-named Galileo, brings loads of new features that will help developers become even more productive In this review, I evaluate the new Eclipse IDE (integrated development environment), but there have been changes made to the entire Eclipse platform, as well.
During my tests of the IDE, I did not run into any problems. Eclipse has greatly matured from its early, much slower days. Today, "powerful" and "feature-rich" are apt descriptions of the platform.
- Full support for both OS X Cocoa and Solaris x86. (And, believe it or not, support for the ancient IBM s390 mainframe-why, I don't know.)
- Alternative button order. Yes, you read that right, and, yes, it really is important. Different operating systems order their OK and Cancel buttons differently, and it's significant that Eclipse allows you to configure your preference.
- Enhancements to the way tool bars and menus can be customized, including the ability to show and hide individual menu and tool bar items.
- Multiple instances of the Properties box. This is a good one, because you can open up more than one Properties boxes so you can simultaneously inspect and modify the properties of multiple objects. (I wonder if Microsoft is reading this.)
- Great improvements to Project Explorer, including Go Into and Go To functionality. (The goal here is to get this explorer up to par with the Package Explorer.)
- Improvements to the online help function, including a quick search that's limited within the selected book or topic.
- Various smaller improvements in the IDE itself, such as a context menu that lets you choose how you want to open resources (for example, just as text or with the built-in editor), as well as a nice Workspace page in the Preferences dialog box that lets you specify how many work spaces to remember and whether to prompt for work space on start-up.
- The inclusion of a handy "breadcrumb" feature for debugging.