SaltyCrane Blog — Notes on JavaScript and web development

7 Eclipse Killer Features; 5 Eclipse Annoyances

Here are my pros and cons after using Eclipse for about a year. I've been using mostly 3.2 and recently updated to version 3.3. For the most part it is great. There are some annoyances that hopefully can be fixed. Maybe I need to learn Java and start working on the code. I've also thought about switching to Emacs. I used Emacs for a short time on a Solaris box and liked it a lot. I can't seem to make the switch now, though, because a.) it's not pretty enough, and b.) I don't want to take the time to learn it again.

Eclipse Killer Features:

  • Search across entire workspace for selected text with CTRL+ALT+G. It's the fastest interface I've used for selected text, it organizes the search results, highlights all items, and shows pretty markers in the margin. (see below.)
  • Pretty markers to show search items, compile errors/warnings, modified text, bookmarks, etc.
  • Code completion with CTRL+SPACE. It is pretty.
  • Automatic variable renaming with ALT+SHIFT+R. It's faster and more reliable than search and replace.
  • Good keyboard support. "Quick Access" is a very nice addition in Eclipse 3.3. Hit CTRL+3 and then type the name of any Eclipse command. (See Quick Access (Ctrl+3) is bliss! for more info.) To open a file, hit CTRL+SHIFT+R and type in the name of the file. The dialog provides filename completion. Fast.
  • Good integration with SVN using Subclipse: allows me to compare revisions, view the repository history, open an old revision next to my working copy, and take a glance at pretty file icons to tell me the state of files. (This no longer applies since I switched to Mercurial.)
  • Put views almost anywhere you want (docked, detached, fast view). Switch between editors with CTRL+F6, switch between views with CTRL+F7, and switch between perspectives with CTRL+F7.

Eclipse Annoyances:

  • Can't open a file from the command line.
  • It is slow. In this article, Stevey Yegge even wrote a Eclipse haiku about it:


    It's a great article, btw.
  • All the extra decorations take up a lot of screen real estate. (Can't completely customize everything. E.g. can't get rid of the scroll bars.)
  • No macros. (This is what Emacs is all about.)
  • No (good) Mercurial plugin.

Eclipse vs. Emacs conclusion: Sticking with Eclipse for now because it is prettier (and because I know how to use it.)


#1 eokyere commented on :

it has no macros, but it is now scriptable via eclipse monkey ... which may (or may not) cut it down to 4 annoyances :)