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Helios Adds More Features

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Eclipse 3.6, codenamed Helios, has reached Milestone 6.  The release features new platform APIs and changes to the Plug-in Development Environment (PDE).  Milestone 7 will be the last milestone release for Eclipse 3.6.  That release is scheduled for May 7th and four release candidates will follow before the final version is released around June 23rd.

The Eclipse 3.6 M6 platform now supports the full set of UNIX file permissions and can edit linked resource locations.  The help web application can be filtered by book/topic or criteria.  The Accessibility API has been enhanced on all platforms and finalized while several new TaskItem APIs allow clients to show symbols, texts, numbers, and a progress bar over the Eclipse Icon in your Windows taskbar or Mac dock.  The icons can also bring up menus now (see below).

TaskItem overlay image

TaskItem overlay text

TaskItem overlay progress

TaskItem menu

A major Java development tool improvement in Eclipse 3.6 is the enhancement of the Java breakpoint details panes, which now display all properties in a single pane.  The detail pane orientation can be configured in the Layout view menu.  The @SuppressWarnings annotation can now suppress optional compile errors and source attachments can now be configured separately for JARs that are referred from another JAR via the Class-Path: attribute in the MANIFEST.MF.  New code formatter options have also been added.

Breakpoints Detail Pane

The Plugin Development Environment for Eclipse 3.6 received Feature based launches and targets in this milestone.  When these are used, the PDE will automatically launch all the required bundles in the selected features.  Another useful new feature helps you manage your target platforms by selecting a set of features, or you can select from bundles that are not contained in any feature.  You're able to search p2 repositories and add elements to your target.

The Add Artifact to Target Platform dialog lets you quickly search a set of repositories for dependencies to add to your current target platform.  A new wizard assists in the customization  of API use reports.  Finally, a bundle can now specify a custom Ant compiler adapter for export or releng builds.  This means that you can now compile non-java sources such as AspectJ or Groovy if a suitable adaptor is available.