Archive for the ‘Usability’ Category

Eclipse Mars.1 Promotion Video

September 13, 2015

Netbeans 8 has a long one and IntelliJ IDEA 14 has several short ones. But in contrast to its competitors Eclipse Mars has no promotion video. Up to now. My 13-year old nephew and I proudly present the unofficial Eclipse Mars.1 promotion video:

Eclipse Mars.1 - Unofficial Promotion Video

IMHO proprietary and open-source software should compete in the area of technology and usability independent of their license and pricing. I see promoting as part of usability, e. g. to tell the user what is new and what has changed before she or he decides to use or not to use it. In my opinion, Eclipse can still learn a lot from its competitors in this respect.

Update 2015-10-05: Video updated (Gradle support added); Mars SR1 replaced with Mars.1

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Word Wrap Wanted!

February 7, 2013

Almost ten years ago, Gary Gregory requested the feature “Text Viewer and Editor needs to support word wrap” in bug 35779. Currently, the bug has 203 comments and up to now 209 people have voted for this bug. There is only one bug that has more votes than the word wrap bug. Nevertheless, the bug is still open and probably will stay open forever.

Until yesterday. Yesterday, Florian Weßling proposed a solution. I tested it with the Eclipse IDE for Java Developers 4.3M4:

Video: Quicktest of Florian Weßling’s Word Wrap Patch

Conclusion: The text editor patch is quite promising. There are only a few minor cosmetic issues left. The performance has to be tested. Hopefully, the patch will get applied soon by the Platform team. Good job, Florian! 🙂

Update: Florian also blogged about his proposed solution, which would be his first contribution to Eclipse.

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Some Thoughts about the IDE 2.0

October 24, 2010

The German Jaxenter asked Marcel Bruch, Ekkehard Gentz, and me independently what we are currently missing in our favorite IDE, how the IDE must change to meet upcoming challenges like cloud computing, multi-core systems, distributed software development, etc. and how the next generation IDE should look like. Read the German article (or translation by Google) with the combined replies.

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Eclipse Help Helps

May 30, 2010

There are three possibilities to offer documentation or help with Eclipse: as an integrated help system of an RCP application, as a standalone help application (which could be used for non-RCP applications) or/and as a so-called Infocenter web application.


(Graphic is based on this HERTZ add)

There are a couple of reasons why the company that I am working for chose Eclipse as their help system: it runs on both Linux and Windows, it scales (even with thousands of topics), and it just works although it is based on the outdated version of Lucence. And there is one feature that I have not seen in other help applications so far: the help content can also be produced on-demand. For example if you want to include text or data entered by users or show different help content depending on the configuration of your application. Like the static content the dynamic content is single-sourcing, this means that you have to write it only once for all platforms and all three deploy possibilities described above. That’s pretty cool.

But there is also a feature I’m missing (see bug 315013): in the Infocenter the URL does not follow the navigation between topics. In order to deep-link a topic, the topic link in the TOC has to be used instead of the web page URL.

In order to reference to a search result you have to use the parameters tab and searchWord, e. g. http://help.eclipse.org/galileo/index.jsp?tab=search&searchWord=HELP!!! shows the Eclipse Galileo search results of HELP!!! This makes it possible to define a Web Browser Search Engine Plug-in for Eclipse Galileo help or for your own Infocenter.

Vex: Filtered Content Assist

January 8, 2010

Vex was created 2002 at SourceForge but in general you don’t notice Vex’s age and its long inactive development. The intuitive concept of editing XML files with a word processor like interface is still up-to-date and liked by both XML experts and non-engineers. After being hijacked by Eclipse Dave made Vex’s data model compatible with that of the Eclipse XML Editor to build a multi-page editor containing both editors as a page each. The switch from the old Eclipse action to the new command framework was also not noticable for Vex users.

But there has always been something that annoyed me: the dialog to add a new element and its twin, the dialog to convert an existing element into another element (keeping all its content). It just didn’t look Eclipse-like:

However, the dialogs could not be replaced by Eclipse common code completion content assists: The text to filter the content of the dialog must go somewhere but, depending on the DTD in XML documents, text (#PCDATA) is not allowed at every position where elements can be added. Thus, a mixture between Content Assist and Quick View was required.

Furthermore, without the window titles the two dialogs are indistinguishable. In the latest integration build of Vex, the Convert Element dialog now has short descriptions like Convert ‘AAA’ to ‘BBB’ instead of the target element names only.

As a side effect, it is now possible to extend the Change Element dialog to a Quick Fix content assist containing actions like Move column left/right or Move block/list element up/down.

In my view, Content Assist and Quick Fix make Eclipse Eclipse-like, don’t they?