Eclipse 3.1 M4 – an early Christmas gift from the Eclipse team

Eclipse 3.1 M4 is out. It was released right on time, last Friday, December 17th. This is a nice early Christmas gift from the Eclipse team.

As always, since this is a beta release, expect some bugs especially with the new features. When you find a bug, make sure to report it, as that helps Eclipse improve.

Highlights:
1. More Java 5 support, specifically annotations and autoboxing are now supported.
2. Java preference pages use a new look and feel and are now more Web-like. Not sure if this is a good thing, however.
3. multi-line search and replace
4. SWT spinner – looks nicest on Mac OS X, in my opinion
5. preference filtering – nice, very iTunes or Mail.app-like search
6. preference dialog now has back/forward buttons like a browser – do people get that lost when setting preferences? Perhaps that indicates that we have too many preferences.
7. Import/Export to tar.gz – nice for OS X
8. Even better support for RCP apps. Here’s a nice write-up on the improved RCP support from Ed. It looks like 3.1 is going to enable RCP apps to be written much more easily than 3.0.
9. You can now start up Eclipse via just regular “java -jar” command, instead of using eclipse.exe. I’ll have to experiment with this on OS X to see what the ramifications are.
10. Several new CVS goodies – looks like Eclipse is becoming the best CVS client on the market. This does not bode well for Subversion support, but should be great news to CVS users.
11. Mac OS X specific: You can now drag out of SWT apps (including the Eclipse SDK) into other OS X apps. For some reason, this doesn’t seem to work that well dragging to Finder, but I can drag things like build.properties to TextEdit.

Make sure to also check out the New and Noteworthy for 3.1 M4.

When you want to get 3.1 M4, try the mirror sites first, as they should let you download faster.

5 Replies to “Eclipse 3.1 M4 – an early Christmas gift from the Eclipse team”

  1. I dig eclipse as much as the next guy, but I really hate having to blow away my eclipse rig just to try out the latest milestone. Why can’t you just hit the update site to get the latest bits? I’m not saying I want it to be totally backwards compat, but there’s got to be an alternative.

  2. Craig, you can copy your workspace to the new Eclipse directory *before* the first time you run it, and the workspace will be converted to support the new milestone.

    Watch out though, you can’t convert backwards! That’s why I always use copies.

  3. Thanks for the tip, I’ll give it a whack. Can I migrate my plugins by copying them to the plugins directory in the same way?

  4. Plugins are meant to be compatible between Eclipse versions with the same major version number (the first number). In addition to that, Eclipse 3.0 has backwards compatibility with plugins designed for the 2.0 Eclipse versions. Since 3.1 has the same major version number, you should be OK.

    Yes, copying plugins to the plugins directory is the installation method. :) Eclipse reads the directory at load time, so if you already have Eclipse running when you copy the plugins you’ll have to restart Eclipse.

  5. I attempted to migrate my plugins from 3.1M3 to M4 by simply copying the plugins directory. This didn’t work. I copied the directories for the plugins before I started up M4, but eclipse didn’t recognize them. I ended up having to pull them down from their respective update sites from scratch. It did pickup all my project properties however, so thats the most important thing.

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