Friday, June 18, 2010

Awesomeness in Helios

There was a recent post by Wayne about how Eclipse is an IDE Platform. For all practical purposes, that is the way that I use it. But what is really awesome about Eclipse as an IDE platform is that it is an IDE platform that just keeps improving.

I have to admit that I honestly don't keep up with the latest improvements to the Eclipse IDE. The reason is simply practical. I work on making tools for doing research on IDEs. I would like my current project, Diver to be as compatible as is reasonable so that I can decrease the barrier to adoption. If I work with the "latest and greatest" version of Eclipse, I am just too tempted to use the "latest and greatest" features of Eclipse in my own tools, which means that people running the current release may not be able to work with what I am building. It's really just a matter of discipline.

But now that Helios is about to be released I've started to use it and I find it totally awesome. Ian Bull has been faithful to his top ten list of the newest and greatest features of Eclipse. I don't know if I will do the same, but I think I might report on the great things about Eclipse as I discover them.

So far, the number 1 through 10 greatest feature of Helios for me has been its new integration with the Eclipse Marketplace (and the Yoxos Marketplace catalog). I just recently had to change computers which meant that I also had to reinstall Eclipse. Normally, I would use Yoxos to create my own custom distribution of Eclipse, but I wanted to try Helios and all its cool new features. I use a number of 3rd party tools that aren't available in the standard Eclipse p2 repositories. For example, I work in academia which means that I write papers. I use LaTeX for writing papers, which is a surprisingly process to writing software. So, I use Eclipse to write text as well as software. It used to be total pain to search for my LaTeX plug-in, add its p2 repository to my list of "Available Software Sites", and install. That is no longer the case. Now, I can just load up my Eclipse Marketplace client and do a quick search for "LaTeX":


And there you go. No hassle, no fuss, I just install and that's it. It's beautiful.

As an aside (and a shameless plug), you can do the same thing with my project "Diver". Just load your Eclipse Marketplace client. A quick search for "reverse engineering" will point you straight to my favorite Eclipse tool ;-) :

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