Monday 9 July 2018

Upgrading to Eclipse Photon

I use Eclipse as my Java IDE. And the new release, Photon is now out.

Photon is a large release, with lots of new features. The most important is the separation of the test and main classpaths, which has always been a point of pain in the IDE. Now it just works as you would expect, and the Maven plugin M2E correctly sets it up:

Note the darker colour of the src/test classpath elements.

Support for Java 9 (modules) and Java 10 (local variable type inferenece) is also present, ready for Java 11 in September. You can also use JUnit 5. It even tries to help you reach 100% code coverage!

All in all, I feel this is a release where upgrading will make a difference to everyday coding.

I've upgraded my own Eclipse installations, and it all went pretty well. You can either start from a clean install (I prefer the basic IDE without plugins so I can choose which ones to add). Or you can add Photon as an update site, and let Eclipse update itself.

One problem I had was the plugin that connects Maven (M2E) to Checkstyle (Eclipse-CS), known as m2e-code-quality. Fortunately, the team at GEBIT have been maintaining a fork of the original plugin. However, they don't release it in binary form. As such, I had to build the plugin locally (no big deal - its a simple build).

To simplify the process however, I've created a repository on GitHub with my Eclipse setup files, and a binary zip of the GEBIT forked plugin.

To use just the m2e-code-quality GEBIT fork, download the zip file and add it as an update site. Here are some instructions.

Thank you Eclipse team for a great release!

PS. I won't be answering "how to" questions about upgrading Eclipse or the eclipse-setup repository. There are plenty of other places to ask questions, such as Stack Overflow or the Eclipse Forums.