Optimized and Easy-to-Use Eclipse Toolbars and Menus

I love Eclipse because as an IDE it can do pretty much everything. Up to the point that some call it an ‘Eierlegende Wollmilchsau‘: something which can do anything. But with all the tools, menus and features, it can be daunting for a someone new to Eclipse. But the good news is: Eclipse is very versatile and can be customized to make it easier and simpler to use too. In this article I show how I’m tweaking it the way I want it, with just the menus and buttons I need:

Eclipse Optimized Menus and Toolbars

Eclipse Optimized Menus and Toolbars

Outline

In this example I’m using the NXP MCUXpresso IDE V11.1.1, but things pretty much apply to any other Eclipse distribution. NXP has added extra features and tweaked many things for easier usage too, and I go beyond that.

Eclipse

Eclipse

The above shows a somewhat ‘standard’ Eclipse with many toolbar icons and menu items. Below I’m showing how to optimize this so it is easier to use.

Perspectives (C/C++ and Debug)

Eclipse has the great concept of ‘Perspectives’: menus, buttons and views can be switched depending on the development phase. Typical perspectives are ‘C/C++’ (for source editing and building) and a dedicated ‘Debug’ for debugging.

Perspectives

Perspectives

Switching perspectives can be confusing for a beginner, so NXP has added the ‘Develop’ perspective which unifies both the C/C++ and Debug perspective. Such a combined perspective is available in the GNU MCU project too (see https://mcuoneclipse.com/2015/05/10/codered-debug-perspective-in-kinetis-design-studio/).

Personally I like to have different perspectives for editing and debugging, so I wrote an article about this (https://mcuoneclipse.com/2017/11/12/using-a-custom-debug-perspective-in-eclipse/).

Perferences for Perspectives

Preferences for Perspectives

Having dedicated perspectives for editing and debugging enables me to have dedicated toolbar and menus too.

Each perspective can be customized using the menu Window > Perspective > Customize Perspective…

Customize Perspective

Customize Perspective

Import/Export Settings

A perspective can be saved using the ‘Save Perspective As…’ menu. Use a name like ‘MyDebug’ or ‘MyC/C++’.

Save Perspective

Save Perspective

Then then the settings can be (exported and imported again):

Export Preferences

Export Preferences

I have published my settings on GitHub.

Toolbars

For the C/C++ perspective I’m using the following Tool Bar Visibility:

Editing Toolbar

Editing Toolbar

C/C++ Toolbar Visibility

C/C++ Toolbar Visibility

Here are my settings for the Debug Perspective:

Debug Toolbar

Debug Toolbar

Debug Tool Bar Visibility

Debug Tool Bar Visibility

Menus

Below my menus for Debug:

Debug Menus

Debug Menus

Debug Perspective Menu Visibility

Debug Perspective Menu Visibility

And the menu for C/C++:

C/C++ Menus

C/C++ Menus

C/C++ menu

C/C++ menu

Summary

Eclipse is very versatile and can be easily tweaked for my needs. What I have found very useful is to use dedicated views, menus and toolbar for Editing and Debugging: only to show items which I need and hiding/disabling what I don’t need. This works very well for me and gives a clean and tidy IDE:

Eclipse Optimized Menus and Toolbars

Eclipse Optimized Menus and Toolbars

Happy simplifying 🙂

Links

4 thoughts on “Optimized and Easy-to-Use Eclipse Toolbars and Menus

  1. So I set up a perspective in one workspace, and save it – but if I switch to a different workspace that saved one isn’t visible.
    Seems you’re saying I have to save it, then export it – then I presume switch workspace, import and finally then I can access the saved perspective. That’s quite crazy complicated!

    Like

  2. Erich… I think you are the only human being that actually LIKEs eclipse… lots of us use it… but I didn’t realize anyone actually liked it 🙂

    Alan

    >

    Like

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