James Selvakumar’s Blog

November 18, 2007

Eclipse 3.3 – Initial impressions

Filed under: eclipse — James @ 7:21 am

In my last blog entry, i wrote an article about the best features in NetBeans 6.0.

This entry explains the initial impressions i had with Eclipse 3.3 (Europa)

I’ve always heard people saying that eclipse editor is superior to netbeans. I was very curious to find out how.

I don’t know whether these features are available in eclipse for a long time (as i’m a intellij idea/netbeans user). But these are the things that impressed me a lot.

1. Much intuitive syntax colouring. Eclipse stands out from netbeans here. I don’t think the default syntax colours in netbeans is great, though we can configure it. For example the colours chosen by eclipse to “Mark occurences” and to “highlight braces” are clearly eye-friendly than the netbeans colours.

2. Lots and lots of code navigation options. Wow! it’s really amazing. Now i can understand why eclipse users feel proud about their ide.
I really like the “navigate java elements – CTRL+SHIFT+UP/DOWN” option. This is one feature which i like very much in intellij idea and missed a lot in netbeans. I made a lot of requests in netbeans user mailing lists to add this feature but till now i don’t have that feature in netbeans :-(.

3. Very good “surround with” options. Eclipse simply offers a lot of options to surround your code with. Though intellij idea has supported this feature for a longggggg time, it’s nice to see that in eclipse.
Netbeans also has “surround with” options but i have a small complaint there. That is sometimes when i select a particular block of code and choose the surround with try catch option, it surrounds the entire piece of code inside the method (not just the selected block).

4. Lightning fast code completion. Hats off to eclipse here. The code completion is really really fast. (Netbeans guys, you still need to improve. Though 6.0 has reasonably faster code completion than 5.5, it’s not as fast as eclipse )-:

5. More options while creating a java class. Eclipse provides a lot of options while creating a java class. I would like to mention a few here:
- Options to declare a class as abstract/final
- Options to declare class access modifiers (public/default)
- Option to extend a super class
- Option to declare the list of interfaces the class shall implement.

Some might argue that these options make the class generation wizard a bit more complex to look nevertheless, it looks like a very useful feature to me.

6. Local history is just a right click from the editor window.

7. Improved servlets/jsp support. (Disclaimer: I didn’t spend much time investigating this, but i read an article which explained the improvements done in the web tools platform project)

But i found somethings which didn’t look intuitive to me:

- Running a project/class is not as simple as “right click the project/class, click run”. There might be some valid reason for this, but for me, it looks a bit more complex than it need to be.

- There are no menu items (atleast to my understanding) to stop a project which is running. (Yes, i have a small stop button in the run window itself, but trust me, it took me nearly half an hour to figure that out)-:

But overall, i think Eclipse 3.3 is a great product and i’m very much interested in exploring it further.

I also found onething that might amuse netbeans users…(i’m a loyal netbeans user as well :-)

Netbeans is really catching up fast with eclipse in terms of pure java editing. Eclipse users, beware!!!!

I missed only a few (but very very useful)-: features in eclipse that don’t have a equivalent in netbeans.
I hope netbeans developers will take note of this and improve netbeans further.

As a java developer, i thank both the eclipse and netbeans teams for giving away world class products with amazing quality free of cost. Thank you so much………….

If anybody know a visual source safe plugin for netbeans/eclipse, please let me know, because if i don’t find anything i’m planning to develop that on my own :->> )

November 9, 2007

Best feature in NetBeans 6.0

Filed under: netbeans — James @ 2:42 pm

You might have heard tons of information about NetBeans 6.0 in recent days.

I’m using NetBeans 6.0 Beta 2 for almost 2 weeks now for some of my development activities.
Though it had lots of new features available, the new refactoring is the feature which impressed me the most.
(Note: So far, I have used the ide for Java SE projects only)

Refactoring in NetBeans 5.5 is good, but in 6.0 it’s outstanding, i must admit.

I heard that refactoring has been improved in 6.0, but i didn’t spend time reading what were the improvements.
So when i first pressed the shortcut key to refactor a local variable, it highlighted all the occurrence of the variable in blue and when i started to change the variable name in one place, all the highlighted occurrences were changed simultaneously. This is really excellent!!!

Figure 1: All the occurrence to be refactored are highlighted.

Now when i start changing it, all the highlighted occurences change simultaneously.

Figure 2: All occurences change simultaneously

This is the view after refactoring is done.

Figure 3: View after refactoring

Great, isn’t it?

I was even more impressed when i stumbled across one more astonishing refactoring feature….

This time, i wanted to change a method name used in more than one class and what better than the netbeans refactoring?

I want to change a method name “getAESEncryptedText” to “getEncryptedText”, but this method is referred in more than one class. So when i pressed “CTRL + R”, this is what i got.

Figure 4: Refactor dialog

I wanted to have a preview of the places where this change will be effected. This is the preview offered by the ide:

Figure 5: Refactoring preview

That is outstanding. You can see exactly how the refactored code will look like in the preview pane.

I was thrilled by this offering from netbeans.

Now i’m motivated to compare the refactoring module offered by netbeans and eclipse.

Interesting times ahead for the developers….

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