Eclipse Goodies

I thought I share some Eclipse goodies which might simplify your workflow if you use Eclipse/Flex Builder on a daily base and don’t know them yet.

Linked Resource

Sometimes you can not avoid absolute paths within your Flex/AIR project settings (.project, .actionScriptProperties, .flexProperties) because you define for instance an include for a library.

When you put these project settings under version control you have got a problem as the absolute paths only works on your machine and especially cross operation system like Windows and OS X.

The solution is to use the Linked Resources feature of Eclipse:

DOCUMENTS is there per default and I added CATALINA_HOME to specify the location where I installed Tomcat. When you now use a path in your property files like for instance .actionScriptProperties you can now use ${CATALINA_HOME} or Eclipse even substitutes the paths with the linked resource variable automatically for you.

Memory / Heap Size

Edit your eclipse.ini (on Mac show package contents) to increase the memory you give to Eclipse which will increase the performance a lot. My eclipse.ini looks like this but figure out what works for your machine depending on the Ram you have:


It is always good to see how many memory Eclipse uses so enable it in the Preferences->General->Show heap status and after that you see the info on the bottom right of your Eclipse window:

If you start Ant scripts from Eclipse which is the way I use it all the time you can also run out of memory and I posted a couple of weeks ago how you can change the settings.

Label Decorations

If you work with a version control system (if not you should start today) Label Decorations help a lot to have a quick view on the status of a file.

Working Set

I like to work with one workspace because I have to re-configure all settings if I would switch to another workspace location. When you have many projects in your workspace it is easy to loose focus so try to group you projects into Working Sets.

Link with Editor

Ok, this is a small one but it helps if you don’t know it. The navigator view has a little icon with two yellow arrow in opposite direction. Click it and now every time you select a file tab in the editor on the right side the corresponding file in the navigator get’s selected so you know were you are.


If you see CTRL/CMD it is control-key on Windows and CMD aka Apple on OS X. Some shortcuts are not different cross this operation systems.

  • Open Resource (CTRL/CMD-SHIFT-O): Let’s you browse all files in your workspace and while you start typing the files are filtered. This dialog also support wildcards like ? and *.
  • F11: Run Debug
  • CTRL-F11: Run
  • CTRL-H: Search
  • CTRL/CMD-G: Find declarations
  • CTRL/CMD-SHIFT-G: Find references
  • CTRL/CMD-ALT-G: Find text
  • CTRL-O: Quick Outline

Clean and unexpected problems

Sometimes you focus a situation in Eclipse where you say “This can’t be!” but obviously it can. So when you have unexpected problems first try to clean the affected projects (Project->Clean). If this does not help close Eclipse and restart it via console with the parameter “-clean”. If this does not help maybe your workspace is corrupted so try to switch to a new workspace. The last step to nail down Eclipse problems is a fresh clean Eclipse download and start from the beginning which is also not that much of work since Eclipse does not depend on an installation routine.

Do you have some Eclipse goodies to share?

7 comments to Eclipse Goodies

  • Torbjørn Caspersen

    A couple of tips that might be obvious to most, but that took a long time for me to discover:

    Go into:
    Right-click on a folder in Navigator, choose “go into” and that folder becomes root. Nice if you have deep hierarchies.

    Run as menu:
    On the icon bar, next to run, debug etc., there is an icon – white arrowhead on green circle and an red tool box. It’s a list of all the recent “run as” commands. I use Ant to move files onto server, and these show up as project + scrip name.

  • If you like working sets, you really need to check out Mylyn – think of it as automatic generation of working sets based on tasks (pulled from Trac, local store or other compatible bug tracker)

  • couple of shortcuts we use frequently

    CMD + D – delete the selected lines
    ALT + Down Arrow – move selected lines down
    ALT + Up Arrow – move selected lines up

    I got a few old ones listed here too

  • errr bugger, sorry Sonke can you remove these last 2 comments. my apologies

  • hi tink, thanks for your link and i removed your previous comment.
    I am also using the three shortcuts every few seconds but fogort to mention 😉

  • Jeff

    New to Eclipse. It seems to be a whole lot of features, but missing the basics. I just want to move a workspace between machines without loosing all the linked files…