What's New in 3.5

Here are descriptions of some of the more interesting or significant changes made to the Eclipse Platform for the 3.5 release of Eclipse. They are grouped into:

Plug-in developers will also be interested in the corresponding What's new document in the plug-in developer's guide.

Platform Changes
Eclipse on Cocoa 32 and 64-bit OSX Cocoa have joined the line-up of supported configurations for which SWT and Eclipse are routinely built. Cocoa is now a first class Eclipse configuration, including advanced libraries such as OpenGL for SWT. Cocoa replaces Carbon as the primary toolkit for Eclipse and SWT on Mac.

Eclipse on Cocoa

Solaris x86 Solaris x86 has joined the line-up of supported configurations for which SWT and Eclipse are routinely built.

Solaris x86

Eclipse on s390 and s390x It's time to dust off that old mainframe in your basement, because Eclipse has arrived on the s390 and s390x architectures. This new port is still early access, so give it a spin and report any problems you encounter in bugzilla.
Alternate button order On GTK, it is now possible to change the default button order for Eclipse. To have the OK button on the left, edit the ~/.gtkrc-2.0 file and include the line "gtk-alternative-button-order=1".

Alternate button order

Customize menus and toolbars The customize perspective dialog has been improved and extended with new functionality. It can now be used to hide or show individual menu or toolbar items.

Customize Perspective dialog

Multi-instance Properties view You can now pin the Properties view to a given selection. This allows you to see the properties of a particular selection while having the freedom to select alternate items.

You can now create new instances of the Properties view from an existing one. The existing one will be pinned to the contents it is currently displaying and the new view will be set to follow the workbench's selection.

The Multi-instance Properties View

Compare Editor enhancements New features have been added to the Compare Editor:
  • The Go to Line action added to the context menu allows for rapid navigation
  • The current text selection will be used to populate the filter field of the Open Type and Open Resource dialogs
  • The current line is now highlighted in each viewer
  • Background and foreground color preferences are now honored
  • The Set Encoding... action has been added to the context menu. This allows you to change the encoding of each side of the comparison

Go to Line


Compare Word documents Comparing Word document changes in Eclipse now uses the Word compare support to show you the changes as revisions.

Compare Word documents

Switching compare viewers The Compare Editor allows you to switch to optional merge viewers available for the compared content. For instance, while comparing two Java files, you can use the simple Text Compare viewer instead of the default Java Source Compare.

You can also switch between content-specific merge viewers; for example when an alternative Java compare viewer is available, you can use it instead of the default one.

Viewer switching

Open Resource dialog allows choice of editor The Open Resource dialog now allows you to open files with the the editor of your choice. You can either choose the editor from the Open With context menu or use the drop-down menu besides the Open button.

Open Resource dialog

Switch editors and multi-page editors Switching between open editors and multiple editor pages has been streamlined. Ctrl+PageDown and Ctrl+PageUp now always activate the next or previous editor tab, even in multi-page editors. To switch between pages of a multi-page editor, use Alt+PageDown and Alt+PageUp.

Multi-page editor (PDE manifest editor)

Improved Network Connections page The Network Connection page has been changed to better show the current proxy configuration. Now if you go to Preferences > General > Network Connections, you are able to see and change Eclipse proxy settings as well as see settings provided by the operating system. If you want to use your browser or Gnome settings, or you have your proxy configured using environmental variables on Linux, you can see them all in this new UI.

New Proxy Settings UI

Workspaces preference page A new preference page supports managing the startup prompt to select a workspace: General > Startup and Shutdown > Workspaces. You can enable or disable the prompt altogether (this setting used to be on General > Startup and Shutdown) and specify the maximum number of recent workspaces to be remembered. The page also lists the recently used workspaces and allows you to remove unwanted workspaces from that list.

The Workspaces preference page

Project Explorer improvements As a step in the campaign to bring the Project Explorer up to parity with the Package Explorer, the Go Into and Go To functionality has been added. You can now go into any folder/project/etc. and have that be the only contents of the Project Explorer.

Showing the Project Explorer after Go Into selected

Custom icons in help system Custom icons can be specified for books and topics in the help system using the <tocIcon> element in the org.eclipse.help.toc extension point.

table of contents

Buttons to change font size in Welcome To improve accessibility two new buttons (a large and a small 'A') have been added above the welcome area which can be used to increase or decrease the font size on the welcome pages.

welcome page

About page in help system It is now possible to open a web page, about.html from the help system that shows plug-in version information. This makes it possible to determine the versions of plug-ins running in a Help infocenter.
Help quick search A search of the help system can be initiated with a scope limited to the selected book or topic.

help quick search

Install/Update Changes
Software updates menu items New menu items have been added to the Help menu, allowing you to invoke the most common software management tasks immediately. Instead of launching a single updates dialog and navigating pages with action buttons, you can now perform common tasks immediately from the Help menu.

Software updates menu items in the Help menu

For example, you can now check for software updates in one step using Help > Check for Updates. This menu command will check for updates (in the foreground or background depending on your General > Always run in background preference), and launch the software updates wizard if updates are available.

Installing new software The Available Software page has been merged into the install wizard and can be accessed using Help > Install New Software.... The same navigation features previously appearing in the Available Software page, such as filtering and viewing by site, category, or name, are now on the first page of the wizard.

Available Software Page in the Install Wizard

Some of the most common workflow and usability complaints have also been addressed:

  • The wizard will now open immediately without waiting to connect to any update sites. This makes the view itself much more responsive once the wizard is opened.
  • A description field has been added to the page to show more information about the selected item.
  • You can now change many selections at once without computing the install results on each change. Once you've selected the items to install, the Next button will take you to the review page. If there is an error or you otherwise want to change your selections, you can now go back and change the selections in the first page, and the resulting changes won't be computed until you move forward again.
Installing software from a new site The install wizard has been reorganized to make it simpler to add a new site and install software from it. You can add a new site by typing, pasting, or dragging a URL link into the Work with combo box. You can also use the Add... button to add a site. Auto-completion on names and locations is supported when typing in the Work with field, including completion of repositories that are currently disabled.

Only the content for a newly added site will be shown, making it simpler to find what you want to install. You can also use the combo to change the filtering of the available software by any site. The wizard has also been streamlined by placing the links to other views closer to the relevant information in the wizard.

Available Software view in Install Wizard

A new checkbox at the bottom of the page lets you control whether all sites will be used when searching for the new software's requirements, or whether only the site selected will be consulted. Previously, all sites were always used when gathering the requirements.

More detail in install wizards The wizards for installing, updating, and uninstalling software now provide more detailed information about the software required to complete an operation. For example, when you install a feature, you will see a list of the other features required that will also be installed.

Install wizard with detail

The update wizard has also been reorganized so that you can change your update selections in a separate selection page. When available updates are shown, the wizard will open directly on the details page.

Update wizard detail

From this page, use the wizard < Back button to see all of the possible update proposals and change the selections.

Update wizard with multiple proposals

Installation information now appears in About The Installed Software and Installation History pages have been moved into the new Installation Details dialog. To access these pages, choose Help>About and press the Installation Details button. In addition, you can now expand the top level items in the Installed Software page to see what software each item requires. From the Installation History page you can browse previous install configurations, and Revert to previous configurations.

Installation History page in Installation Information dialog

Software sites preference page The available sites for installing and updating software are now managed from a preference page (Preferences > Install/Update > Available Software Sites). To find a particular site quickly, you can sort by name, location, or enablement. You can also use the filter field to filter the list of sites.

This preference page also allows you to define your own name for available software sites. Names can be defined when adding a new site, or edited from the available sites preference page. If you don't provide a name, the name defined by the site itself will be used.

Available Software Sites preference page

Editor Changes

These changes apply to all textual editors in the SDK.

Block selection mode in textual editors Textual editors now support block (aka column or rectangular) selection mode:

Block selection in text editor

To enable it either use Alt+Shift+A or activate the 'Editor Presentation' action set to get a tool bar button for toggling the block selection mode.

Double-click on folding line collapses the folding region Double-click on the vertical folding line now collapses the folding region:

Double-click collapses the folding region

Team/CVS Changes
History in Tag Resources dialog When tagging a project you can now choose a previously used tag.

The Tag Resources dialog with the history list

Apply patch in the Synchronize view You can now apply a patch directly in the Synchronize view.

Apply patch in the Synchronize view

More options for synchronization scheduling New options are available in the Configure Synchronize Schedule dialog. Synchronization can be started at a specified time, run once or repeated at selected intervals.

Synchronize schedule dialog

Debug Changes
Debug view breadcrumb Debug view now offers a breadcrumb which shows the current active debug context. The breadcrumb is activated automatically when the Debug view is resized to show only one line of text.

Debug view Breadcrumb

Each element in the breadcrumb can be selected and actions can be invoked through a context menu or keyboard short cuts.

Debug Breadcrumb Popup Menu

Finally, a drop-down menu allows navigating to a new element and changing the active debug context.

Debug view Breadcrumb Drop-Down