Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Eclipse 3.4M3

I was a little distracted by QCon when Eclipse 3.4M3 hit the street. There are a few interesting bits in the New and Notables:

  • Eclipse will sense when you've verified that a class is an instance of something more specific, and offer code completions for that more-specific class with automatic casting. I don't need to do this a lot, but when I do, I find the process a little irritating, so it's nice to have a little quick support for that.
  • Personally, I think with the Save Actions in 3.3, projects should bite the bullet, define a project-specific formatter, and set Eclipse to format on every save. That said, for people not willing to go that route, the new ability to format only edited lines offers a possibility to reduce the chaos on check-in (at the potential cost of having a file that is partially formatted).
  • The ability to detect unnecessary @SuppressWarnings continues to improve the job Eclipse can do to clean up after the mess we make for ourselves.
  • The improvements to Call Hierarchy are welcome; I've often wanted the ability to do a call hierarchy from a member field, not just a member method. If you haven't used call hierarchy, think about hitting Ctrl-Alt-H any time you might otherwise have reached for Ctrl-Shift-G. By offering a multi-level trace on what code access a method or field, you can often find more, faster than a find usages.
This is in addition to some of the highlights from M2 and M1:
  • Differentiating between read and write access on Find Usages output.
  • Quick assists to create getters/setters and extract methods.
  • Replace all with preview diff looks really nice.
  • The extract class refactoring to group method parameters into an object: often, when a given set of parameters is passed around to more than one method, this is a sign that there's really an object at work that just hasn't been created.
Eclipse 3.4 seems to be part of the Ganymede simultaneous release. There's a list of projects in that simultaneous release, but very few of them seem to have released much information of what's to come. Looks like Eclipse 3.4 will be followed by 4.0, according to the draft plan.

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