Eclipse 3.1 - New and Noteworthy

Platform (continued)

View all keyboard shortcuts

While working with your favorite editors and views in Eclipse, just press Ctrl+Shift+L to see a full list of the currently available key bindings. This is a great way to learn what is available in the UI and to speed up your productivity by learning more key bindings. This information is also available in the improved General > Keys preference page.

Screenshot of keybindings

Welcome launch bar

When the 'Go to the Workbench' link is selected in the Eclipse SDK Welcome page, the entire page is collapsed into a new Welcome launch bar, which appears in the lower left Workbench window trim area by default. The Welcome launch bar allows new users to quickly restore the last Welcome page, or jump to one of the main pages using the shortcuts.

Screenshot of Welcome launch bar

New Help view

Help has been brought closer to where you work with the introduction of the Help view. It contains various pages that provide assistance when you need it. If you press F1, the view will open with the topics related to what you are working on at the moment. You can also switch to All Topics and see what else is there in the local help. The new documentation search spanning local help, remote InfoCenters,, and the web is now directly accessible from the Help menu (via Help > Search Help).

Screenshot of new help view

Downloading of updates in background

The Update Manager's install wizard (Help > Software Updates > Find and Install) now allows downloading of plug-ins in the background. This way you can continue working while plug-ins are being downloaded. Once everything is downloaded, the install phase (unzipping the jar files and moving them to the installation directory) is still controlled by a modal dialog.

Update site mirrors

Update sites can now specify a list of servers that mirror their content. As features are looked up on a mirrored update site, you're prompted to pick any of the available mirrors.

Screenshot showing mirrors

Improved handling of feature dependencies

When installing a feature that depends on other features, the install wizard lets you automatically include all available dependencies. Press the Select Required button to include all prerequisites of the selected features, and then Install All to complete the install.

Screenshot of Select Required button

RCP delta pack

A new RCP delta pack is now available (it's listed under the RCP SDK section of the download page). It contains all the OS-specific fragments of the RCP plug-ins, and is aimed at RCP developers that need to create a family of downloads of their application for different OS's. It beats having to download all the OS-specific RCP binary drops.

SWT Browser widget improvements

Many improvements have been made to the SWT Browser widget. Highlights include:

  • On Windows, new windows can now be opened in a stand-alone Internet Explorer browser.
  • On Linux, the browser now works with Mozilla 1.7 GTK2 as well as with Mozilla 1.4 GTK2 and above.
  • A new execute method passes an arbitrary string of JavaScript commands to be directly evaluated by the underlying native JavaScript engine (Internet Explorer on Windows, Mozilla on Linux, Safari on the Mac) in the context of the HTML document that is currently loaded in the browser widget.

Screenshot of embedded browser view

The new Browser Demo example (shown above) illustrates how to integrate HTML content with the SWT Browser widget into an application. The easy way to get the SWT samples is via the new Welcome page.

New spinner widget

SWT now provides a spinner widget on all window systems. See org.eclipse.swt.widgets.Spinner.

Screenshot of SWT spinner widgets

GC.setLineCap, GC.setLineJoin

GC.setLineCap lets you control how the end of a line should be drawn (flat, round, or square styles as shown in the top line of the figure below). GC.setLineJoin allows you to control how one line attaches to another one in methods like GC.drawPolylines or GC.drawPolygon. Join styles are bevel, round, and miter (bottom row)

Screenshot showing new SWT line styles

See the SWT snippet for drawing lines with different cap and join styles.

More platforms being built

In addition to our reference platforms, which are thoroughly tested and supported, there are additional platforms being built and made available on the download site. Currently, these include Solaris/SPARC/GTK and Linux/PPC/GTK. These additional platforms have received only sporadic testing, and thus are not yet officially supported.

Selection clipboard

Unix users on both GTK and Motif can now select text and paste it with the middle mouse button.

Native tree with columns

The SWT Tree widget can now display multiple columns. New API in Tree, TreeItem, and TreeColumn provides the same support for columns as Table. This obsoletes the TableTree widget, which is now deprecated.

Screenshot of multi-column Tree

For more details see the example snippet.

Reorderable table columns

The display order of columns in a table can be changed by dragging the column header (as well as being set programmatically).

Screenshot of Table column being moved

For more details see the example snippet.

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