Make your Eclipse rock

Eclipse is one of the greatest IDEs available out there. In my opinion it's the best, because in comparison with other choices such as Intellij IDEA, Eclipse is free and open. People say NetBeans are getting good, however I am too skeptic to believe. As it's the matter of preference, I will stick with Eclipse.

Yet, after a fresh and clean install Eclipse (v3.3 as of this moment) is not yet kicking. A few crucial things are missing. I'll give out my recipe to making Eclipse rock. So, let's get on with that:

  1. Fresh install from www.eclipse.org. As I'm NOT doing J2EE/Web/XML stuff at home, Eclipse IDE for Java Developers is the best choice for me.
  2. Give it more RAM! Default values are pathetic, so you should edit your eclipse.ini to look like this:
    Say bye to those possible out of memory and permgen space errors.
  3. Fine-tune the Preferences. Go straight to workspace and open Window -> Preferences.
    Check "Show heap status" - it's nice to see how much heap you've got.
    General -> Appearance:
    Uncheck "Show text on the perspective bar". That gives more space for perspective icons.
    Check "Show traditional style tabs". Performance.
    Uncheck "Enable animations". Performance.
    General -> Editors -> Text Editors:
    Check "Insert spaces for tabs". You may not want that if you're a tab fan.
    Check "Show print margin". 80 is good.
    Check "Show line numbers". Who would not want to see line numbers by default?
    General -> Editors -> Text Editors -> Spelling:
    Uncheck "Enable spell checking". Performance. And hell, that's no Microsoft Word.
    General -> Startup and Shutdown:
    Uncheck "Mylin Tasks UI" from "Plug-ins activated on startup". Unless you REALLY want to use Mylin. I think it sucks and terribly slows Eclipse down.
    General -> Workspace:
    Choose "UTF-8" as your "Text file encoding". Unicode is the way to go.
    Choose "Unix" as your "New text file line delimiter". This is also is the way to go.
    Java -> Code Style -> Formatter:
    Click "Edit..." on Eclipse [built-in] profile. Set new profile name. In "Identation" tab set "Tab policy" to "Spaces only". You may skip this if you're a tab dude.
    Java -> Compiler -> Errors/Warnings:
    You may want to harden your compiler warnings for more beautiful and strict development. I tend to override these:
    In "Code style": "Undocumented empty block" -> "Warning".
    In "Unnecessary code": "Unnecessary 'else' statement" -> "Warning".
    In "Unnecessary code": "Unnecessary cast or 'instanceof' operation" -> "Warning".
    In "Unnecessary code": "Unnecessary declaration of thrown checked exception" -> "Warning".
    Java -> Compiler -> Javadoc:
    Set "Malformed Javadoc comments:" -> "Warning".
    Set "Only consider members as visible as: " -> "Private".
    You want your Javadoc clean, don't you.
    Java -> Editor -> Content Assist -> Advanced:
    In content assist proposal list uncheck entries marked with "(Mylin)" and check the alternatives: "Other Java Proposals", "Template Proposals", "Type Proposals".
    In cycling list check all same entries: "Other Java Proposals", "Template Proposals", "Type Proposals".
    Web and XML -> XML Files -> Source:
    In "Formatting" section check "Indent using spaces" and set Indentation size to "2". Otherwise you will end up with tabs in your XML.
  4. Subversive - the best Eclipse plug-in for SVN support:
    Help -> Software Updates -> Find and Install. Search for new features to install. Add two New Remote Sites - "Subversive SVN Connectors" with URL: http://www.polarion.org/projects/subversive/download/eclipse/2.0/update-site/ and "Subversive plug-in" with URL: http://download.eclipse.org/technology/subversive/0.7/update-site/
    Check http://www.eclipse.org/subversive/downloads.php for latest URLs.
    Install new components. Skip Mylin integration and sources.
  5. Maven plug-in. You MUST know what Maven is, otherwise don't do Java. Seriously. You may choose from Tycho and Q: http://maven.apache.org/eclipse-plugin.html
    I was a long-time user of Tycho, however Q looks really promising. I'm trying it right now for the first time. Yeah, definitely, go for Q. Installation is easy, just add New Remote Site:
    Q4E: http://q4e.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/updatesite/
  6. XML Buddy. Your light weight swiss army knife in Eclipse XML editing. Download plug-in manually from http://xmlbuddy.com and drop it into your Eclipse plugins folder, then restart.
  7. JADClipse. Your daily Java decompiler. Best for those times when you need to go under the hood. Make this a habit. You will need JAD in your PATH: http://www.kpdus.com/jad.html
    Then download JADClipse plug-in from http://jadclipse.sourceforge.net/, drop it to Eclipse plugins folder and restart.
Enjoy your tools!


  1. Wow; thanks for taking the time to compile this list of Eclipse tweaks and plugins. I really do appreciate you taking the time to do this. You're the man!

  2. The unix line end is not the silver bullet, especially not under windows. Other than that, good guide.


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