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Helios Adds New Fire to Eclipse

It's that time again!  The annual updating of numerous Eclipse platform projects and the classic IDE that made it ubiquitous.  Eclipse 3.6 "Helios" is more than just a new IDE release, this year it consists of 39 Eclipse projects from SOA tooling, to a 'marketplace' client for Eclipse plugins, to a platform for mobile development. 

You could fill a lot of pages listing every little new feature or productivity enhancement that has been added to various projects.  This list will just focus on some of the best new features for the platform, Java IDE, p2, and plugin development.  There's plenty of other projects that have been enhanced such as the PHP IDE.  You can see what's new in the Eclipse 3.6 IDE for C/C++ (CDT) here.  At the bottom you can find a list of several other projects that have been updated.

Platform Enhancements

  • Synchronize view can browse and apply patches

  • Target platform management enhancements

  • Git Support (JGit, EGit, and the Git Infrastructure)
  • EMF, RAP (Rich Ajax Platform), and Riena Integration
  • Xtext 1.0

Java IDE Enhancements

  • New code formatter options
  • Breakpoint details pane

  • Static analysis improvements
  • Object instance counts

p2 API Highlights

  • Support for multiple agents (manage multiple apps with single controller)
  • New query approach - p2 Query Language and a simple QueryUtil class
  • Java5 Generics (down-compiles to Java 1.4 for backward compatibility)
  • Dropped provisional from many package names - Real API
  • Easy invoking of common operations

Resource Improvements

  • Virtual folders
  • File permission management
  • Open resource dialog enhancements
  • Ability to open a file from the command line and have it open in an existing running instance of Eclipse

Plug-in Development Environment (PDE - OSGi Development Environment)

  • API to modify plugin (bundle) projects
  • Feature-based targets and launch configurations
  • Easier synchronization of project compiler settings and file encoding settings
  • Support for custom Ant compiler adapters (you can now compile non-Java sources)
  • CVS Importing
  • OSGi console

Eclipse 3.6 packages:

Check out these three articles for more in-depth feature listings.  IBM Works has an article on the various Eclipse 3.6 projects.
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