Posts Tagged ‘eclipse’

Running Code in Eclipse the Lazy Way

December 15th, 2008 No comments

I’m pretty happy working in Eclipse. Today I’ll share one of my favorite “workhorse” keyboard shortcuts.

So say you’re editing some unit tests (you are writing unit tests, right?) for a particular class and you want to run them. Of course, you’ve set up a launch to run all the tests in your project, but you have so many tests that you don’t want to sit through them all for this one little test. Try this instead:

    alt+shift+X and then T

Yay the tests in the current file were just run. So let’s decode that. “alt+shift+X”. X is for eXecute. Now what is “T” for? Oh yeah, Test. Execute test. That’s way faster than right-click, run as, JUnit test, etc. Or finding the JUnit view and clicking “run again”.

Now what if you wanted to debug? I can guess that the shortcut will end with a “T”. What does it start with though?

   alt+shift+D and then T

Nice. So “alt+shift+D” means debug.

Ok, now if I’m just editing a plain old Java file with a main() method, i.e. I’m testing by hand (bad boy!) what should I do?

   alt+shift+X and then J

Of course it starts with execute, and then “J” for Java. Similarly, if I want to debug:

   alt+shift+D and then J

Cool. Now do that a few hundred times until it’s in muscle memory and you stop using your mouse like a sucker.

Note that these shortcuts not only work in the active editor, but on selected resources. Select a class in the Package Explorer and try it out.

Bonus Shortcuts

So now you’re starting your debug session without the mouse. Don’t waste your time clicking those step buttons:

  • Step Into – F5
  • Step Into Selection – Ctrl+F5
  • Step Over – F6
  • Step Return – F7
  • Resume – F8

I have to admit these have been harder to get down after so many years in Visual Studio. Way it goes.

p.s. I realize these are kind of obvious, but sometimes I don’t do something unless someone tells me to, which may hold for others as well. :) Also there are actually shorter shortcuts for things like debugger (F11 I think), but I like mnemonics.

Categories: eclipse Tags:

Running javadoc Ant task from Eclipse

December 9th, 2008 25 comments

All things being equal, I like projects that build out-of-the-box. That is, given a clean checkout from revision control, a project should just build without requiring too much customization: setting environment variables, installing third party software, modifying the system path. I’m especially sensitive to this at the moment because I’ve just finished up five days (actually maybe 30 hours all together) getting one particularly horrible system to build.

Along these lines, I added a javadoc task to an Ant build script today and tried running it from Eclipse. Just for the record, that procedure is as follows:

  • Open build.xml
  • Right-click the task in the Outline View
  • Select Run As->Ant build.

Interestingly enough, this failed with the following error:

build.xml:208: Javadoc failed: Cannot run program
"javadoc.exe": CreateProcess error=2, The system cannot find the file

A quick Google search reveals several suggestions that the solution is to make sure that javadoc.exe is on the system path.  First, it’s a little ridiculous that Ant can’t find javadoc from JAVA_HOME when it clearly uses the same mechanism to track down javac. Oh well. Bygones. Second, returning to the idea of builds that “just work”, I don’t want to modify my system path. What if I have several JDKs installed, used with several different projects simultaneously?

So, how do we get javadoc onto the system path without modifying it? Simple, modify the path in Eclipse. This time, run the Ant task with the following procedure:

  • Open build.xml
  • Right-click the task in the Outline View
  • Select Run As->Ant Build …

That elipsis at the end is important. This will bring up the Eclipse launch configuration dialog. Give your new launch configuration a name, like “Build <Project Name>” or something and switch to the Environment tab. Here you can specify the environment for Ant. But we don’t want to kill the whole system path, just prepend the location of javadoc.exe to it. So click New… and enter Path for the name and the following for the value:


This prepends JAVA_HOME/bin to the current system path. Now click Run and everything should work fine. Yay.

Now, when someone else checks out the project you don’t want them to have to go through the same hassle. It’s still a hassle, just inside Eclipse instead somewhere else on the machine. The solution to this problem is to save the launch configuration!  Return to the launch configuration screen and open the Common tab. There you can select to save the configuration as a shared file. I usually save it in tools/launches. The resulting file will have a .launch extension. Commit the launch file to version control. Now anyone who checks out the project will have a properly configured launch configuration to build the project. No fuss, no muss.

Also note that this is a much more general purpose solution. It applies to any launch configuration where you need to modify the path, or set any kind of environment variables.

Possible Issues

There are a few potential issues I can think of:

  • That semi-colon in the path string may not work on non-Windows systems. I’m not sure if Eclipse is smart enough to fix that.
  • In the past, I’ve had trouble with the case of environment variables and Ant.

Also, I believe that an alternate solution to this problem is to register the JDK in Eclipse. This is ok, but it’s nice to not require it.

Categories: eclipse, java Tags: , ,