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AnyEdit tools plugin for Eclipse: features

Please also check: AnyEdit in action... AnyEdit preferences... AnyEdit actions / toolbars...

One question which is very often asked by the AnyEdit users is: "why is THIS particular feature is not a part of the Eclipse platform"? Interestingly, many of the features previously offered by AnyEdit was integrated into the last Eclipse releases (like "show invisible characters"), or will be integrated ("compare with external file" will go into 3.5) but still basic Eclipse is missing the full set of features offered by AnyEdit.

In most cases AnyEdit is incredibly useful because it saves time and additionally prevent you get mad by long, boring and error prone editing tasks.

Here is a dozen of most popular solutions provided by AnyEdit for common programming tasks...

    consider you have two big pieces of code in the same editor which looks pretty similar, and you wish to compare them. There is no build-in solution for such basic task in Eclipse.

    with AnyEdit you can just select one of the pieces, "Ctrl+C" (clipboard), then select the next one and choose "Compare With -> Clipboard" and get the Eclipse compare editor up. It allows you even patch you selected text from the compare editor!

    have you ever tried to compare any two opened editors together? It works fine if you have a small project with one folder and 10 files. Ok, in this case you do not need to know what is Anyedit good for :-) But if you have 30+ projects in different working sets, it gets worse - you have navigate first to the first file, select this one, hold Ctrl key, navigate to the second file, select it too and then open a context menu to compare both. Usually you have also to unset some filters or enable/disable selected working sets etc, so it will never be done with less then 5-10 clicks.

    with AnyEdit, just right click inside the editor, select Compare With/Opened Editor -> done! Now you can compare ANY opened text editor with any other with just 3 clicks! The new feature is a real time saver - and it is even possible to compare/patch two external editors together!

    have you ever tried to compare external file editor or class file editor with other files/editors? Just try it :-) There is NO way... Eclipse just don't provide any chance to do it by default. If you can't select editor's file in some kind of navigator, then you will never able to compare it in Eclipse => you have either run external diff tool or somehow import your external file into the workspace.

    with AnyEdit, just right click inside the editor, select Compare With/ and choose one from four possible actions provided by AnyEdit: Compare/Replace With: Clipboard/Workspace file.../External file.../Opened Editor...

    large codebase with different projects which uses different coding tabs<->spaces styles. If you try to read/change such code, you preferred editor would not be able to display/maintain the existing style properly without AnyEdit across all this projects/files. You can even violate the project code guidelines by using different white space.

    with AnyEdit you just set your preferred way of maintaining tabs<->settings and it will automatically take care of it. If the AnyEdit settings are checked in together with the project code, no one will ever get in conflict with code style rules.

    convert many files/directories at once to a proper tabs<->spaces style.

    select the folder in Navigator and click "File->Convert tabs<->spaces".

    while jsp/html editing, you often need to enter html entities for special characters or, taken such html coded text, convert it back to the usual characters and paste it to the database table/sql editor. Usually you need to learn/type it all by the hand (not a problem if you have enough time, of course). Doing this with a large text or all the days is just a pain without AnyEdit, because usually you do not have much time and you made mistakes.

    AnyEdit does this in a seconds with no mistakes at all. Even more, AnyEdit can convert from/to special Unicode escape sequences and from/to Base64.

    navigate from the editor of your choice to any file or Java type, referenced in the text. For Java types it works fine but in Java editor only. For files there is no general solution at all. But what if you have struts xml file with referenced Java classes and included jsp's? Without AnyEdit you must ctrl+c the long path/type name, open the "Open type/Open resource" dialog box, ctrl+v the text to it, scroll editor down by searching for the right line. Sometimes you do not like to use clipboard because it contains important code snippet, so you must re-type the path/class name in dialog. How many keyboard/mouse interaction you need for this? Now multiply this by 10 if you are trying to navigate in a large JSP/Java codebase from one included file to another file.

    with AnyEdit it is just a right click on the path/type and go. It would even jump to the right line in the opened editor, if the line information is provided in the text!

    your web/J2EE server or Ant build or custom script writes some logs/stack traces in the Eclipse debug console, and you would like to jump to the referenced file/class or line. Again, as described above, it requires too much user keyboard/mouse clicks to achieve this.

    with AnyEdit it is just right click on the path/type and go.

    you want to save the console content to file? You can do it by selecting the right part of the code, copy to clipboard, create and open the desired file, paste and save it. 20 clicks or more? Sure! Even worse: sometimes you can't even use copy&paste because output is too big for the clipboard!

    Relax - AnyEdit allows you to save entire console content (or only the selected text) to the file with 4 clicks! It also automatically open the file in the editor (but only if you like!).

    you must see if source code contains tabs or spaces, because it is important for some programming languages or make files. It could break your code if you do not use the right type of white space. In this case you must use another (not Eclipse based editor) for such files, because there is no way to see the difference in Eclipse 3.1-3.2 (3.3 have it finally).

    with AnyEdit it is just a click on toolbar button and you see the differently highlighted or colored white space in your preferred Eclipse editor.

    you have a huge number of projects organized with working sets and you are not using CVS/SVN, but other version control system. You want to switch to another product version, so you usually creates a new workspace. In this workspace, you have manually sort and organize you projects by same working sets...

    Anyedit adds File->Import/Export->Working Sets" wizards. This feature is similar to the new hidden gem in Eclipse 3.3 (switch workspace dialog has now an option to copy existing working sets). Import/Export working sets wizards allows you to store working set definitions to the file and apply them to the another workspace by importing them, by just few clicks!

    on Linux printing is not (or not well) supported by SWT (only for newer GTK versions), but on the main toolbar there is always a grayed "print" button which takes your screen space. It is not possible to remove it, and it is completely unusable.

    AnyEdit allows to remove this button or replace it with a hidden "save all" button, which is much more useful on the main toolbar.

    Some compiler requires that each file has to end with a new line character. Because it is invisible, it is hard to keep track of this especially if merging files.

    Anyedit can automatically (on save) add a new line at the end of the file.

    You have some text which should be sorted (in any possible way). There is no built-in functionality in the standart Eclipse editors, so you have to copy/paste the text into the spreadsheet editor, sort it there, copy/paste back etc.

    Anyedit can sort the text in any editor in a different ways: Case-Sensitive, Case-Insensitive, Numerically (all in both directions).


Please also check: AnyEdit in action... AnyEdit preferences... AnyEdit actions / toolbars...

Last changed at: 09.12.08 23:28