Stories about Software


Re-Learning Eclipse

Recognizing and Understanding My Irritability

I’ve been dabbling off and on in Android development lately. For a long time, I used Eclipse on a regular basis and got to know the ins and outs of it quite well, but as a look at my tag cluster will tell you, Visual Studio has been my main IDE over the last couple of years. The result is that my Eclipse skills are getting as rusty as my Spanish (fluent enough to read novels when I was 20, rusty enough to struggle reading the blurbs about movies on Spanish language channels now). So, picking it back up is an experience in annoyance. I now expect everything to work the way Visual Studio does. That’s kind of ironic since when I first switched over to Visual Studio, I downloaded this plugin, called “AsEclipse.”

As a user, I’m entirely justified. Jakob Nielsen describes the effect of user annoyance.

Annoyances matter, because they compound. If the offending state-field drop-down were a site’s only usability violation, I’d happily award the site a gold star for great design. But sites invariably have a multitude of other annoyances, each of which delays users, causes small errors, or results in other unpleasant experiences.

Even if no single annoyance stops users in their tracks or makes them leave the site, the combined negative impact of the annoyances will make users feel less satisfied. Next time they have business to conduct, users are more likely to go to other sites that make them feel better.

He’s talking about E-commerce websites specifically, but I believe the same wisdom applies to any application. User annoyances add up. If you’re a Windows user used to Mac or vice-versa, weird little things happen that run counter to what you expect. The thing that you think closes a window toggles or maximizes it. The hot-key that you punch has no effect. You’re pissed off before you even realize it. Same thing happens with competing IDEs.

Getting Zen

So, rather than let myself get annoyed, I’m going to document some things here to help me remember how to do things in Eclipse that I take for granted in Visual Studio — to retrain my fingers and brain a bit. I’m going to be keeping this page open as I work, and I’m hoping others find it useful as well. So, without further ado, here is a list of shortcuts/techniques:

  • Switch between files (ctrl-tab in VS): Ctrl-F6 or Alt-Arrow. (Note, this doesn’t rotate through like VS, but switches between most recent, ala Notepad++
  • Resolve reference (Ctrl-Shift-Period in VS): Ctrl-Shift-M
  • Camel-Case Tabbing: Ctrl-Alt-Arrow (with CodeRush anyway): Ctrl-Arrow.
  • Build (Ctrl-Shift-B in VS): Ctrl-B
  • Auto-comment method (/// and then space in VS): Alt-Shift-J
  • Comment block (Select and press “/” with VS/CodeRush): Select and press Ctrl-/.

I’ll probably come back and add to this list as time goes on, but I figured I’d get it started. Hopefully you find it helpful too. Also, please, by all means, add any additional ones to the comments here, and I’ll add them to this list as well.