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Tag Cloud Visualization for Source Code

I’ve always been a huge fan of Wordle, so when I saw Fabian Steeg’s announcement of Cloudio – the SWT-based tag cloud visualization for Zest – I knew I wanted to do something with it, so I created Sourcecloud (suggestions for a better name are welcome).

Sourcecloud is an Eclipse plug-in that lets you create tag clouds of your source code. The idea for this project came from Kevlin Henney, who used such tag clouds in a presentation at Jazoon 2010 (if I remember correctly). Luckily for me, Cloudio comes with an example application, from which I was able to reuse most of the parts, so all the credits go to Cloudio’s creator Stephan Schwiebert.

Why would you want to make tag clouds for source code? It can give you a quick first impression of the quality of a code base. Ideally, you should see many names of the project’s domain. On the other hand, if you see lots of nullsints and Strings, chances are that the code will be hard to understand because there are not many domain specific types in it.

You can install Sourcecloud from the update site for integration builds into Eclipse Indigo. And here’s how the result looks:

And here’s a screenshot of the Eclipse view:

The source code is on GitHub, so if you want to add or change something, fork it and send me a pull request!

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Scala IDE at Eclipse Summit Europe 2010

It seems to be customary to announce his Eclipse Summit talk in blogs, so here’s mine:

My talk will of course be on the Scala IDE for Eclipse:

This talk introduces the Scala IDE for Eclipse, the obvious choice for all Eclipse users who want to write Scala code. We are going to both take a look at the features the IDE currently provides as well as a glance under the hood.

So if you’re at ESE and want to know more about the Scala IDE for Eclipse, visit me on Thursday, just before lunch.

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Eclipse Helios Released: What It Doesn’t Have

Many good reviews already cover all the nice new features that are in Eclipse Helios, so I’m going to show you a three annoyances that have been bothering me for years and are still not fixed in Helios. And these aren’t things like the high memory consumption or the sluggish interface.

Multiple Desktops

A bug that I observe almost every time I start Eclipse is Bug Nr. 98540, Eclipse shells open on different desktops (created in 2005). The problem is:

I launch the Eclipse process on one desktop, and then switch to another. The splash shell opens on the second desktop, not the one from which it was launched.

If you’re not using multiple desktops, this might not sound like a huge problem, but I can tell you, it’s really annoying if Eclipse just follows you around and doesn’t stay on the desktop it belongs to. This is not restricted to starting the initial Eclipse instance but also happens when you’re developing plugins and launch a new workspace.

Global Preferences

There are certain preferences I want in all my Eclipse instances, for example the “Show Heap Status”, or the Font of the editor. So it would be really nice if there were something like global preferences that can be saved somewhere and are then used by all workspaces. It’s already possible to manually import and export preferences, so you can share preferences, but doing it manually is tedious.

Another interesting project going into a similar direction is Google’s Workspace Mechanic. A bug report also exists since 2005.

Unnecessary Scrollbars Shown

The following screenshot should make the problem obvious:

Why are there scrollbars shown? I don’t use any other GTK programs, so this might be a GTK problem; but it still annoys me from time to time. And there’s a bug report for it since 2002.

Despite all these problems, I’m still a very happy Eclipse user and developer, so congratulations for this otherwise great release!

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