Are You An Eclipse User? You Will Find These Tips Useful!

By | March 1, 2014
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While there is hardly any need to reiterate the popularity of Eclipse among Android developers, not everyone manages to use the plug-in in an optimal manner. In the following discourse, readers will be acquainted with a few handy features of Eclipse that considerably ease the task of application development.

 

On average, over 65% of Java and Android app developers cite Eclipse as the integrated development environment (IDE) of their choice. While the software does come with a host of high-end features, getting a proper grasp on it takes a bit of time – particularly for newbies in this field. There are instances where wannabe techies end up using Eclipse as only a text editor, while going with Intellij or Netbeans IDE, which are perceived to be ‘easier’. We here offer a few pointers that would help professional developers leverage all the built-in capabilities of Eclipse in an effective manner:

  1. Saving the file – While working with Eclipse, mobile app developers and programmers need not keep clicking on the ‘Save’ tab on the toolbar of the application window, after adding/changing a few lines of code. All that they have to do is make sure that the ‘Save automatically before build’ option (under the Preferences tab) is enabled. This might seem a minor feature – but coders can save quite a bit of time by using the auto-save option.

  2. Managing .jar files – Eclipse is by far the best IDE for coders who need to create and maintain multiple .jar files in their JEE or app development programs. The files can be categorized according to their types – and systematically saved under separate User Libraries. For calling the .jar files, these libraries only have to be added to a build path. In a complex, lengthy code, this keeps things from getting cluttered.

  3. Files on split screen – Most leading mobile app development companies in India prefer the usage of Eclipse over, say, Netbeans – precisely due to this feature. On Eclipse, two separate code files can be viewed simultaneously, doing away with the need for toggling between different windows. Once you select ‘New Editor’ (present under ‘Windows’), you can make changes in two locations within the same file.

  4. Common launch configuration option – Yet another easy and time-saving feature for developers. Under Menu, the ‘Launch Configuration Tab’ is present – which allows coders to initiate the configuration stage of their programs in a quick, glitch-free manner. What’s more – they can select their permanent launch option and debugging menu as per their preferences. Eclipse definitely bags high marks in terms of offering user-flexibility.

  5. Assistance to code-typing – Eclipse is much more than a standalone text editor for Android application development experts. However, the holistic typing support it offers deserves a special mention as well. Right from Quick Fix, Refactoring and Assign Parameter, to the Code Completion option – the plug-in makes sure that users do not have to do much of manual typing on their own. That, in turn, lowers the probability of errors creeping into the built codes.

  6. The Ecore tools – The Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF) project and the standout Ecore tools available in it have received a big thumbs-up from programmers all over. Ecore includes a streamlined visual editor for diagrams, which makes the task of code-modification and/or new file creation (as required under various modeling techniques) rather straightforward. For keeping the program designing and its implementation in sync, using Ecore is a way more convenient option than having to grapple with external UML diagrams.

  7. Managing several projects within a single workspace – The last thing any developer (even an experienced one!) wants while working with multiple Spring and AspectJ environment workspaces is having to memorize the name of the workspace every individual project is stored in. Eclipse offers an easy way out, via the ‘Working Sets’ option (this one is available under Package Explorer, on the top right side of the window). Customized groupings of the various projects can be created – and after that’s done, developers only need to check the ‘Working Sets’ option under the ‘Show’ menu.

  8. Memory space management – The default memory space of an workspace in Eclipse is not always effectively utilized by novice J2EE developers. This generally happens owing to their ignorance about the Permanent Generation (PermGen) memory allocation option, that is available in the plugin. To avoid getting repeated memory error messages, a ‘XX:MaxPermSize’ has to be defined. As codes get lengthier, and using third-party code plugins become essential, this makes sure that developers do not face the ‘Out Of Memory’ problem.

  9. Support for cross-platform application development – Most popular IDE tools offer custom tools for the different operating systems (OS) developers might be working on. Eclipse, however, stands out – thanks to its top-notch support for cross-platform mobile application development coding. From the Preferences menu, the UTF-8 encoding option has to be selected, for creating programs that would run smoothly on all platforms. Coders no longer have to worry about special characters creating a problem.

  10. Keeping imports organized – Many Java programmers stay away from importing files on Eclipse – simply because they feel that making edits in such imported files would render the latter useless. The truth, however, is Eclipse has built-in options to automatically organize all data imports on save (the ‘Organize imports on save’ feature has to be enabled for that). Alternatively, developers can opt for the Shift-Cmd-O (Mac) or Shift-Ctrl-O (Windows), to manually organize the imported files.

  11. Using Step Filters – Be it for Java program testing or a mobile app testing, a focused approach is essential. Eclipse IDE allows users just that – through its well-thought out Step Filtering option. During the debugging phase, step filters make sure that only the actual source codes are displayed – keeping other underlying program techniques hidden. Error-detection and fixing becomes a lot easier, as a result.

 

Eclipse comes with a built-in Perspectives feature (allowing users easy toggling options), which adds to the convenience of app developers. Since Classpath Variables can be defined with ease, individual projects and workspaces can be seamlessly shared with other users as well. There’s no doubting that the learning curve of Eclipse is a slightly steep one – but if one invests enough time to get a hang of it, Eclipse can easily prove its worth as by far the best Android development IDE.

 

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
Hussain Fakhruddin
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