Introduction to Eclipse


I’ve been a die-hard vi programmer for years, and become quite proficient at using the editor. But a couple of my co-workers have continued touting the merits of Eclipse, until I gave in and gave it a try. At first I only used it for a couple hours at a time, with weeks in between. But my usage has continually increased, until now I’m starting to prefer it for some tasks. Eclipse has about a gazillion keyboard shortcuts; here are the ones I find most useful.

Code Manipulation

ctrl + /
Toggle comment. Comments or uncomments the selected lines.
ctrl + space
Code Assist. Presents a list of suggested completions for the current word.
alt + /
Content Assist. Completes the current word using Eclipse’s best guess based on the context. alt + / again cycles through the suggestions.
ctrl + 1
Quick fix. Hit this while your cursor is over a squiggly red line and Eclipse will present you with a list of options for correcting the error. Never write another import statement!
ctrl + shift + o
Organize imports. Add missing imports, remove unused imports, and alphabetize the entire list.

Code Navigation

ctrl + j
Incremental find. It’s like find as you type in Firefox. Use ctrl + j and ctrl + shift + j or just the arrow keys to cycle results (not F3). Hit esc to exit incremental find mode.
ctrl + l
Go to specific line. Know what line you need need? This is faster than scrolling.

ctrl + o
Quick Outline. Allows quick navigation to any method within the current file. ctrl + o again shows inherited members.
ctrl + t
Quick Type Hierarchy. Allows quick navigation to all sub- and super-classes.
ctrl + shift + r
Open resource. Just start typing and Eclipse will present you with a list of matching resources.
ctrl + shift + t
This one actually isn’t working for me, but they tell me it’s pretty cool.

Editor

ctrl + e
Browse editor windows. Pulls up a list of all open editors for easy navigation.
ctrl + m
Maximize current window.
ctrl + shift + F4
Close all open editor windows. Great for cleaning up your workspace quickly so you can get a fresh start.

Refactoring

alt + shift + r
Rename local variable. Pick a new name and Eclipse will rename all instance of this variable.

Other non-keyboard-shortcut tips for getting started with Eclipse are here.

Plugins
Eclipse has plugins, too! Some that I use:

Subclipse
Subversion integration
FindBugs
“[U]ses static analysis to look for bugs in Java code”
Checkstyle
Checkstyle integration; “Checkstyle is a development tool to help programmers write Java code that adheres to a coding standard”

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