Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Eclipse Ganymede Review

The latest Eclipse release train, Ganymede, has arrived(on time as usual) and comes loaded with 23 projects and a whole host of improved features (even for the Platform project alone) that I have been looking forward to since EclipseCon. Tops on my list are:
  1. The OSGi and Eclipse run configurations are sporting a shiny new filter box. This alone was worth the upgrade for me...no more hunting through the hundreds of bundles in my target to add a bundle that was missing and not "required" (target platforms are still the way to go to limit the number of bundles in this list).
  2. PDE has added a spiffy feature called the plug-in spy...simply click ALT+SHIFT+F1 over any active window and it will pop up with useful info like the active View class and the contributing plugin. This is so useful I retrofitted it to my 3.3 instance as well.
  3. The Plug-in Registry view now allows you to start/stop, enable/disable, and diagnose individual bundles (toggle the Show Advanced Operations menu item to turn them on).
  4. Improved String matching in Find/Replace dialog (esp. with newlines). That used to drive me nuts.
  5. Improved Share Project wizard. It was a real pain to share each of my projects individually in the past, and the addition of the "use the project name as the module name and place it under the selected module" option would have been really handy for me last month :-) update: I just tried this out and it wasn't that special...still have to share each project individually, you just have a nicer wizard to tell you that.
(I was hoping to add links from these items to their location in the New and Noteworthy doc, but it doesn't seem to offer anchors for that purpose)
update: this was an oversite on my part

Overall I have been very impressed with the stability of the new release...even after loading it with all kinds of Ganymede plugins it seems to be performing splendidly on my underpowered (1.6 Gh, 512MB) Linux box.

However, the project/feature I am most excited for is the new provisioning platform (p2). I have read an interesting review at Ekkes Corner and also began to play with the new "Software Updates..." feature. I was also able to set up a working pooled Eclipse install using the p2 admin ui agent (as apposed to the installer) to provision my SDK. I hope to document this experience here shortly...
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