Eclipse on Vista

The win32 version of Eclipse now runs beautifully on Windows Vista. SWT now exploits native features of the Vista platform, such as native double-buffering to make painting in double-buffered canvases twice as fast.

Eclipse on Vista (win32)

New Eclipse WPF port

Eclipse is now available on Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), a new window system that comes pre-installed on Microsoft Windows Vista.

This port is in early access form for 3.3. While this port is stable enough for exploration and development, it has not yet matured to the level of stability and performance you have come to expect from the Eclipse platform. Stay tuned for more improvements on this platform in future releases.

Eclipse on Vista (WPF)

Quick access

To quickly access UI elements such as views, commands, preference pages, and others, use the new Quick Access dialog, available under Window > Navigation and bound to Ctrl+3 by default. Start typing in the filter field to see matches. For example, to open the console view, type Ctrl+3 followed by "con". One of the first matches will be to open the console view. You can use the arrow keys to select a different match for a given filter string. Press Enter to select the highlighted entry. This will execute the command, or open the view, perspective, or wizard etc.

Ctrl+3 shot 1

Your previous choices will be remembered and shown the next time the dialog opens. If you enter the same filter string again, the entry you picked last time will be selected automatically.

Ctrl+3 shot 2

Using the initials of the words you are trying to find, you can narrow down your choices using very few letters.

Ctrl+3 shot 3

Undo support for resource operations

Undo and redo are now available for most resource changes. When you manipulate projects, folders, or files, you now have the ability to undo and redo the changes you have made. This includes resource creation, deletion, move, copy, and rename. Use the Edit menu from the Navigator view to undo the operation. Note that operations from other views (such as the Java Package Explorer or Project Explorer) may not support undo.

Screenshot showing the undo available after deleting resources from the Navigator

Undo support for task and bookmark operations

Undo is now available for many task and bookmark operations. When you create, update, add, or delete a task or bookmark, you now have the ability to undo that change. Use the Edit menu from the Navigator, Package Explorer, Tasks, or Bookmarks views to undo the operation.

Screenshot showing the undo available after adding a task to the tasks view

A new look

Eclipse has a new default presentation. Some of the key features of this presentation are:
  • New Minimize/Maximize behavior. The new 'Minimize' behavior is to move the view stack to the nearest trim area, showing a 'Restore' button along with the icons for the views in the stack. When in the trim, clicking on a view icon will show the view as a fast view. Minimized stacks can be drag and dropped to new locations along the workbench trim. Maximization of any stack triggers minimization of all others. Maximizing an editor now maximizes the entire editor area, allowing you to view multiple editors side-by-side while maximized.
  • New workbench tab treatments. Workbench tabs have a new color scheme based on your system title background color, and unselected tabs now also have rounded corners to match the appearance of selected tabs. When tabs become crowded, they now maintain their icon and no longer show an ellipsis in order to maximize the amount of useful information.


You can reinstate the old presentation via the General > Appearance preference page.

Improved workspace switching

When you switch workspaces you can now transfer some of your current settings with you. The most recently used workspaces now appear on the file menu under the Switch Workspace item for quick access.

Setting transfer while switching workspaces

Improved resource selection dialog

The resource selection dialog (Navigate > Open Resource) now allows you to filter based on working set, and supports camel-case search. For example, searching with the string "TIMF" will match a file called "ThisIsMyFile".

The dialog also now shows the history of recently opened items, and allows multi-selection to open several resources at once.

Resource selection dialog

All plug-ins are now signed

All plug-ins in Eclipse project builds are now signed using a cryptographic signature provided by the Eclipse Foundation. This allows you to authenticate that the content you receive from the download server matches the content on Eclipse update manager will also authenticate the signatures on these plug-ins when they are provided from an update site. You can see information about plug-in signatures under Help > About Eclipse > Plug-in Details

Working set usability improvements

You can now add and remove selected elements to and from working sets in your workspace. This functionality is found in the Edit menu as well as in the toolbar. You can also create a new working set directly from the Add to working set toolbar dropdown. To access this functionality, you may need to add the Working Set Manipulation command group to your perspective via Window > Customize Perspective.

Add to working set

Hiding the window toolbar

You can now hide the window toolbar by clicking Hide Toolbar in the context menu of the toolbar. You can restore the toolbar by clicking Window > Show Toolbar

Hide window toolbar

Working sets for the Project Explorer

The Project Explorer can now group and filter elements by working set. You can display working sets as top-level groupings or aggregated into a flat list. The window working sets can also be selected and grouped or aggregated based on a preference.

Working Sets top level groupings submenu in Project Explorer

Patch wizard improvements

The Apply Patch wizard now allows you to preview the patch changes against the contents of the local workspace. When applying CVS patches, you can also now manually apply unmatched patch segments to the local file. No more digging through *.rej files!

Apply Patch wizard

Compare editor improvements

The compare editor has a number of significant improvements:
  • The contents of compare editors are now kept in sync with other editors currently open on the same file.
  • Comparisons that used to take a long time now take a matter of seconds, thanks to a new text differencing algorithm.
  • Compare editors are now initialized in the background so that the UI remains responsive while the files are being fetched and compared.
  • Many of your favorite editor commands are now available in compare editors, including find/replace, show whitespace characters, show line numbers, and the Show In sub-menu.
  • Compare editors now highlight individual changes within a block of changes.

Highlighting of changes in compare editors

Compare Structure in Outline view

You can now view the structure pane of a compare editor in the Outline view. To enable this, go to the General > Compare/Patch preference page and check Show structure compare in Outline view when possible. Selecting structure elements in the Outline view will scroll the content pane in the Compare editor to reveal the change in the selected element.

Structure compare pane in Outline view

Long resource paths on Windows

Where the underlying file system allows it, you can now create resources with paths longer than 260 characters on Windows. This requires a Java 1.5 VM or greater.

Navigator view showing long resource path names

Open files with other editors

You can now open files with editors that are not registered for the specific file extension. Right-click on your file and select Open With > Other. You will be presented with a list of editors to choose from.

Open With->Other...

Forms enhancements

UI forms have many visual and functional enhancements, including rendering and layout of the heading area, with drop-down menu, drag and drop, and shared-header support. Form validation now supports multiple messages, and shows which field the error occurred in.

Sample forms editor

Platform level proxy and SSH2 settings

A new General > Network Connections preference page has been added for managing proxy settings.

In addition, the JSch SSH2 client used by the Eclipse CVS client has been pushed down to the Eclipse Platform so that it can be used by other clients as well. Use the new General > Network Connections > SSH2 preference page to configure it.

Network Connections preference page

Keys preference page improvements

The Keys preference page displays your key bindings and can optionally display all available commands that can be bound to keys. Customized key bindings are marked by the "delta" icon delta in the User column.

You can now:

  • Update a selected binding immediately by modifying the Binding or When fields
  • Create a binding from a command by modifying the Binding field
  • Create a command from a binding using the Copy Command button
  • Remove all changes from the system with Restore Defaults

keys preference

Editor area drag and drop

Dragging external files (i.e., from the Windows file explorer) on to the editor area of a workbench window has the same effect as Open File. Also, you can now drag an editor between workbench windows associated with the same workspace.

Properties view make over

The Properties view has adapted to the new look and feel of UI forms. Visual enhancements include new title bar layout, colors and gradient, and new tab design and colors.

tabbed properties view

Console launcher for Windows

There is now a second launcher "eclipsec.exe" on Windows that behaves as expected for a console application. This allows piping the output from Eclipse, sending the Ctrl+Break signal to the VM to generate a stack dump, and better behavior in general for the standard -console, -consoleLog and -debug options.

Improved detection of Mozilla plug-ins

Users of Mozilla-based browsers can now augment the default set of Mozilla plug-in paths that are searched by defining environment variable MOZ_PLUGIN_PATH. For example:

export MOZ_PLUGIN_PATH=/usr/lib/browser-plugins

Easier help navigation

The help window now has a Home button in the navigation toolbar, which brings you back to the initial home page. You can also find your way home by following the bread crumbs at the top of each document. These links allow for easier navigation and provide more information about the context of the document being viewed.

Help breadcrumbs

Help search term highlighting

If you open a help document as a result of a search, a new toggle button will appear in the toolbar allowing you to toggle the search term highlighting on and off, making the document easier to read.

Search highlighting toogle button

Categorized help search

You can now categorize help search hits by book in the help window via the new toolbar toggle button. Similarly, you can also toggle the search descriptions.

Categorized help search

Print multiple help topics

You can now print multiple topics in the help window with a single action. The new print drop-down button above the table of contents allows you to print a complete topic sub-tree at any level, and will automatically generate a table of contents in the printed document.

Print drop-down menu

Cheat sheet improvements

You can open a cheat sheet from the Web by specifying its URL in the open cheat sheet dialog.

Opening a cheat sheet from a URL

Sub steps in a cheat sheet are now clearly separated using horizontal lines. Sub steps can now be previewed. The background colors in the cheat sheet view have been adjusted to make the active step stand out more.

Spell checking in text editors

Spell checking is now available in text editors and an American and a British English dictionary are part of the SDK:

Picture showing the dictionary section from the Spelling preference page

Spell checking is now enabled per default. If you're already a spelling whiz, you can disable this feature with the new Disable Spell Checking quick assist.

Show invisible whitespace characters

It is now possible to see the invisible whitespace characters in textual editors:

Screenshot showing whitespace characters in the editor

This feature can either be controlled via General > Editors > Text Editors > Show whitespace characters preference, or via the [Screenshot of the Show Whitespace tool bar button] tool bar button when the Editor Presentation action set is enabled.

Text drag and drop in text editors

You can now drag and drop text to and from text editors:

Screenshot showing text drag and drop in the editor

You can control this via General > Editors > Text Editors > Enable drag and drop of text preference.

Scroll by pages using Ctrl + mouse wheel

The mouse wheel scrolls the content of a textual editor by pages while the Ctrl key is pressed.

Select by word or line using the mouse

Double-click and drag now grows or shrinks the selection by a word at a time. Triple click will select a whole line, and those with nimble fingers can triple-click and drag to grow or shrink the selection by a line at a time.

Smart Home/End

Pressing Home and End keys now ignores whitespace at the start and end of a line. Pressing the key a second time goes to the real start and end. Pressing the key again toggles between the two start/end positions. Home/End inside a linked area jumps to the beginning or end of the linked area, e.g. when filling in a template.

This feature can be controlled via General > Editors > Text Editors > Smart caret positioning at line start and end preference.

More team annotation options

Team annotations in text editor ruler can now be configured in a number of ways: you can select from three different coloring schemes and choose whether author and revision information should be displayed as text in addition to the coloring. The following screen shot shows the revision numbers, background colored by author, and additional information in the hover and it also emphasizes the changes belonging to the same revision. This is achieved by clicking on a revision in the live annotate ruler. A second click removes the stickiness again.

Screenshot of an annotated Java editor - the ruler shows revision numbers, while its background is colored by committer

Below we see the author names, with background colored by date. These options are configurable via the ruler context menu (Ctrl+F10):

Screenshot of an annotated Java editor - the ruler shows revision numbers, while its background is colored by committer

Recenter command

A new command has been added that allows recentering the line that contains the caret. By default, this command is only bound to a key binding (Ctrl+L) when using the Emacs scheme. To bind it in the Default scheme, simply assign a key sequence to the Recenter command which can be found in the Text Editing category.

Joining lines in text editors

You can now use the new command Ctrl+Alt+J in a text editor to join lines.

Convert tabs to spaces

Text editors now allow you to convert tabs to spaces when typing.

This feature can be enabled via General > Editors > Text Editors > Insert spaces for tabs preference.

More flexible templates

The syntax for templates has evolved to allow typed and parameterized template variables. This allows the same variable type to be used multiple times in the same template. As an example, consider the following template for generating a doubly nested for loop:

Screenshot showing a template for a double loop over two different arrays

Import CVS projects directly into working sets

You can now assign CVS projects to a working set during import. This is available from both the CVS Repository View (via Check Out As) and through the CVS Import Wizard.

Checkout As

Export working sets as part of team project set

The export wizard can now persist active working sets as part of a Team Project set.

Export Project Set

History view search

The History view has a new search field that allows you to filter the history based on text in the author, comment, revision, and tags. The field is not visible by default but can be enabled from the view menu.

History Search Field

History view now has view history

The History view now allows you to navigate back to previously viewed elements.

History view has view history

Spell check in Commit dialog

The Commit dialog now uses the Eclipse spell checker to highlight spelling errors in commit messages.

Commit dialog

Flat presentation in model-based synchronizations

A flat presentation has been added to model-based synchronizations. For CVS, model-based synchronizations are the default.

Flat presentation in Synchronize view

Launch selection vs. launch last

Running and debugging applications has been simplified to run or debug the selected file or active editor. Use the Launch the selected resource or active editor preference to enable this behavior on the Run/Debug > Launching preference page. When the selected resource (or active editor) is not executable, you can opt to launch the associated project or launch the previously launched application.

Launch selection vs. launch last preference settings

Pressing the Run or Debug toolbar button will launch the selected resource (as will the Run or Debug action in the top level Run menu). When a launch configuration does not exist for a file and there is only one way to launch it, the file will simply be launched in the mode you selected. When there is more than one way to launch a file you will be prompted to select how to run or debug the application. For example, when running a JUnit test you can run as a Java application or JUnit test. A launch configuration will be created and an entry will be added to the launch history for the application.

Dialog used to select how to debug a Java program

When the same file is launched again, the most recent configuration in the launch history associated with that file is re-launched.

Run/Debug settings

A new properties page has been added to manage launch configurations associated with a resource. For example, selecting the Run/Debug Settings property page for a project will display all launch configurations associated with that project. Configurations can be created, deleted, and edited from this page.

Run/Debug settings property page showing launch configurations associated with the selected resource

Automatically showing console

Toggle buttons have been added to the console toolbar controlling when the console is automatically displayed. The buttons provide quick access to the workspace preferences to show the console when output is written to standard out or standard error (also available from the Run/Debug > Console preference page).

Toggle buttons in console toolbar

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