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How am I supposed to find that?

I was talking with a colleague of mine today who is starting to have his company move their tool-suite to Eclipse. He asked me to review the UI a bit so I gladly did. I noticed quite a few things that bothered me but basically all the things that bothered me had a common theme. Let’s take the properties view for example:

What I saw was quite a few custom properties views that all tried to get around the deficiencies in the basic properties view. One example was even striking because it was Eclipse Forms based. I than told my colleague about the tabbed properties view in Eclipse:

His response was pretty much, “well, how am I supposed to know that exists?” It’s a fair response given the breadth of technology that is available for you when building Eclipse-based applications. One question we should put forward when diving into E4 is how do we combat this issue? Is it a lack of pre-canned templates for people to use? A lack of books or articles? I’m not sure but this problem is close to my heart as my main interest in E4 is making the life of plug-in developers easier.

Food for thought I guess 🙂

  • Eugene Kuleshov

    I wonder if I am the only one who think that tabbed properties views are overused and generally look worse then table-based properties?

  • Eugene Kuleshov

    I wonder if I am the only one who think that tabbed properties views are overused and generally look worse then table-based properties?

  • Chris Aniszczyk (zx)

    I don’t think it’s that overused… but I mean Eugene… it’s hard to make the argument that the normal properties view looks better than anything. It’s probably the simplest representation I can think of for a properties view 🙂

  • Chris Aniszczyk (zx)

    I don’t think it’s that overused… but I mean Eugene… it’s hard to make the argument that the normal properties view looks better than anything. It’s probably the simplest representation I can think of for a properties view 🙂

  • Markus

    IMO the fundamental issue is, that Eclipse has way to many redundant/overlapping APIs. The PropertyView is just one incarnation of it.
    We need to do a better job in promoting new APIs and marking outdated ones as deprecated. I guess this cannot be solved by just tagging code as deprecated, but also by providing good documentation, best practices etc. The learning curve is already too step, which makes Eclipse adoption a tedious task. Do we want that?
    And for e4 I wish, we’d be bold and remove API cruft (or at least push it into an optional compatibility layer).

  • Markus

    IMO the fundamental issue is, that Eclipse has way to many redundant/overlapping APIs. The PropertyView is just one incarnation of it.We need to do a better job in promoting new APIs and marking outdated ones as deprecated. I guess this cannot be solved by just tagging code as deprecated, but also by providing good documentation, best practices etc. The learning curve is already too step, which makes Eclipse adoption a tedious task. Do we want that?And for e4 I wish, we’d be bold and remove API cruft (or at least push it into an optional compatibility layer).

  • Peter Friese

    I agree with Eugene that the tabbed properties view is looking worse than the tree-based properties view. Pretty much due to the fact that it consumes way to much screen real estate. I mean you simply cannnot put a tabbed properties view to the right or left side of your screen unless you have 21″ monster on your desk. This pretty much makes it impossible to use the tabbed property view as a property inspector some of us know from ancient Java IDEs like JBuilder.

    Apart from that, I guess one good way to promote APIs is to provide up-to-date sample wizards. I find it rather annoying that some of the wizards produce code which has to be considered old-school (remember our discussion about whether to use import-package vs. require-bundle?). I guess the Eclipse Samples Project is a good start for great samples, but why don’t we make them available in the IDE in the form of sample wizards?

  • Peter Friese

    I agree with Eugene that the tabbed properties view is looking worse than the tree-based properties view. Pretty much due to the fact that it consumes way to much screen real estate. I mean you simply cannnot put a tabbed properties view to the right or left side of your screen unless you have 21″ monster on your desk. This pretty much makes it impossible to use the tabbed property view as a property inspector some of us know from ancient Java IDEs like JBuilder.Apart from that, I guess one good way to promote APIs is to provide up-to-date sample wizards. I find it rather annoying that some of the wizards produce code which has to be considered old-school (remember our discussion about whether to use import-package vs. require-bundle?). I guess the Eclipse Samples Project is a good start for great samples, but why don’t we make them available in the IDE in the form of sample wizards?

  • Max

    Biggest issue I have with the properties view is that I cannot make the selection sticky, e.g. have the properties view stay on a selection while working on other things.

    It should also allow me to create multiple views…

    If it did that we wouldn’t need to do multiple implementations of it…

    hmm…maybe I should add a Sticky Properties view to JBoss Tools 🙂

  • Max

    Biggest issue I have with the properties view is that I cannot make the selection sticky, e.g. have the properties view stay on a selection while working on other things.It should also allow me to create multiple views…If it did that we wouldn’t need to do multiple implementations of it…hmm…maybe I should add a Sticky Properties view to JBoss Tools 🙂