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InfoQ Homepage News Eclipse Foundation Releases Neon

Eclipse Foundation Releases Neon

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Today, the Eclipse Foundation announced the release of Eclipse Neon, the eponymous IDE which provides support for Java, JavaScript, C/C++, PHP and Fortran, amongst others. This release marks the eleventh release of the combined release train, with contributions from 779 developers  (of which 331 are committers) and totalling 69 million lines of code.

This release is the first to encourage users to use the Eclipse Installer, a new technology powered by Eclipse Oomph, which allows a small installer to be provided that can download and provision additional tools. This reduces the load on the Eclipse servers, which instead of having to host a single large zip can provide a subset of plug-ins that can be downloaded only if needed. The standard packages – such as the Java developers package and the CDT C/C++ developers package – are now available as optional installations from the installer. This allows a custom IDE to be created with a combination of the standard developer tools.

A long-awaited feature (over thirteen years), word wrapping in editors, is now finally available. By default this is switched off but can be enabled in the preferences or with the Alt+Shift+Y keypress. It is now also possible to increase the size of a text editor's font with Ctrl++ and Ctrl+-, along with pinch-to-zoom on supported trackpads.

Other general platform features include the IDE now supports high-DPI monitors and has a number of icons created at a higher resolution. Improvements have also been made to the GTK3 support for menus and auto-scaled icons for high-DPI resolutions. Full screen support has been added to Windows and Linux, following from OSX's full screen support.

The Java IDE has been upgraded in this release with a number of new features, such as:

  • Null annotation detection has been expanded, allowing both the standard Eclipse @NonNull annotation as well as others (such as FindBugs and CheckerFramework) to be used for annotating null or not-null methods.
  • Null annotated methods in generics now provides more specific recommendations, and will pick up generic method types that have the @NonNull or @Nullable can now be inferred through generic types.
  • Quick fixes for adding nullable annotations are now prompted, though missing entries can be changed based on preferences.
  • JUnit test runs now pass the -ea (enable assertions), to try and detect when assert failures occur as well as the JUnit assertions. This can be disabled in the launch configuration if not required.
  • Content assist in JDT has been improved, allowing searching by substring and displaying partial matches.
  • The terminate and launch feature allows re-running programs quickly, by automatically killing a previous running launch before starting it again.
  • The standard packages now include Maven and Gradle build support out of the box.

Java 9 support is not available (since Java 9 has not been finalized yet) but betas are available from the Eclipse marketplace. Running Eclipse on a Java 9 platform requires the use of -addmods on the JVM command line, due to dependencies on annotations such as javax.annotation.PostConstruct that is not present in the default module.

The C/C++ developer tools 9.0 have had a number of changes:

  • A Create new Class quick-fix is now available when referring to a C++ class that does not exist (for example, a reference to a local variable of that type). This mirrors a similar quick fix available in JDT previously.
  • Code completion now suggests local expressions of the same type for the required parameter in the same scope.
  • Code analysis warnings can be suppressed through the use of a specially formatted single line comment.
  • The OS Resource View now shows local processes, and can be used to connect remote debuggers by right-clicking on a process and performing a connect. The connect button is now no longer shown in the toolbar, but can be invoked from the pop-up menu or through a keystroke.

The PHP tools 4.0 have increased support for PHP 7 by default, with a new set of breakpoints available for exceptions, editor advancements that provide annotated views when classes or methods are deprecated, improved code assist, skipping warnings inside comments, and more.

The JavaScript tools have been significantly improved support for ES6 (EcmaScript 2015), a built-in JSON editor, and the ability to run debuggers with Node and NPM support.

The Eclipse LinuxTools include new support for Asciidoc editors and Docker file creation. It is now possible to see a list of docker images running locally, and fire up a shell connected to that image from within Eclipse. Docker containers can be run as ordinary or privileged containers or pulled from remote image repository.

The Eclipse Neon release includes for the first time the Andmore project, which is the continuation of the Android Developer Tools based on Eclipse. Using this, in conjunction with an Android NDK, allows Android applications to be built on Eclipse.

A full list of the new and noteworthy features for the Eclipse Neon release is available from the new and noteworthy page. Eclipse Neon can be downloaded from the Eclipse downloads page, using the Eclipse Installer or one of the pre-defined packages.

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Community comments

  • The same old-style 90s desktop application

    by Javier Paniza,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    After working several hours with Eclipse Neon I haven't noted any difference with he previous version. The same feeling of the last 15 years.

    Monochrome icons and touch friendly UI would make Eclipse a little more contemporary.

  • GTK3 problems solved

    by László Kocsis,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    I had serious problems with Mars.2 on Ubuntu 16.04: searching the Marketplace froze the application, filtering Preferences didn't work, the CPU usage was at maximum sometimes without reason, important plugins didn't work, etc. Interestingly, turning off GTK3 (by setting "--launcher.GTK_version" to "2" in eclipse.ini) solved all of them.

    I installed Neon today, and it worked out of the box. I used it all day without problems.

  • Re: The same old-style 90s desktop application

    by Seriy V,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Touch friendly UI? Is this really all you need for an IDE?

    I would argue that IDE is productivity tools and neither icons, not touch friendly UI will not improve productivity. It is absolutely different things that matter for such tools and definitely there are important areas for improvements. Also I can bet that mouse + keyboard will stay undeniably leading combination for productivity for the next 5+ years. Touch interfaces are mainstream for almost 10 years for that time people have already realized things they are good for and things which do not really work with touch.

  • Love Eclipse but please...

    by Andrea Del Bene,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    ...drop that ugly "find and replace" in a modal window and give us something like Eclipse Glance.

  • Re: The same old-style 90s desktop application

    by Javier Paniza,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Hi Seriy,

    Ha, ha, ha... Your argument about productivity is just the same that use the RPG programmers talking about the great productivity of their green screens, and the low productivity of mouse.

    I work with Eclipse using a laptop with touch screen, I don't use mouse anymore, it's faster working with Eclipse and touch because you can use the two hand and go from one place to another faster than with mouse. It's fantastic, at least for me. However, there are some things that do not work, for example, when there are many tabs opened and a drop menu is create at right, you can open the menu touching, but you cannot select an item. This is not because touching is not productive but because Eclipse is not tested with touch screen.

    About the icons, if you're a car maker you have to create good engines, a good driver experience, but also an appealing appearance for your cars, otherwise you're not going to sell your cars. I know that this is not a problem for Eclipse, because it has not competition, it's free so it killed the IDE marker 15 years ago and it can be ugly and slow for ever.

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