Eclipse 3.5 is Out!

The next major version of Eclipse has just been released (24/06/09), Eclipse 3.5 - Galileo. The Eclipse project targets for a major release just once a year so this is pretty significant to fans of the IDE. I myself use both Eclipse and Netbeans, depending on the task at hand.

I find Netbeans still has the best free Java Swing visual editor around, and the environment seems a little bit more stable and more responsive than Eclipse when working with very large projects with hundreds or thousands of class files. I'm currently using Netbeans 6.5.1 for PHP development (all Eclipse-based PHP IDEs I've tried, including the latest Zend Studio, could not handle my project structure and would go into a seemingly infinite 'Building workspace...' loop).

When it comes to pure Java development though, I feel much more productive and at home with Eclipse (probably because I started with it). I especially liked the 'Build runnable jar' feature introduced in 3.4. This would extract all files from all jars included in your class-path and restructure them into a single self-contained executable jar file, which is great for making your own little tools whilst making good use of open-source libraries (need to be careful about licensing conditions though).

One new feature in Eclipse 3.5 which seems very useful is the Memory Analyzer (MAT) tool. This is a manifestation of what started out as the SAP Memory Analyzer about two years ago. If you've ever had to debug java memory leaks (unwanted object retention to be more precise) by looking at heap-dumps, then this is the tool for you! The SAP tool is by far the fastest, most comprehensive tool around. It can easily handle heap-dumps of more than 2GB in size. The new version seems to have updated support for different dump formats as well, including IBM DTFJ. Kudos to SAP for releasing this as open-source.

So what else is new in 3.5? You can go through the milestone release notes starting at M7 here. The Galileo release is not just an update of the base IDE though, it also includes major releases for over 33 separate projects. A list of these can be found here.

Note also that NetBeans 6.7 RC is also out. A comprehensive list of new features can be found here.

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