Eclipse: quickly change perspectives with keyboard shortcuts

Perspectives offer a nice way to quickly adapt Eclipse to the kind of work we are doing; there is a perspective for development, debugging, etc. After using it a while, creating some keyboard-shortcuts helps a lot as well. At the end of this article, we'll have perspective-icons like these:

Let's see what the buttons do:
  • JavaEE Perspective (Alt+1)
    • In this perspective the Project Explorer (tree) is displayed on the left, on the right we have the code-editor window and the tool-windows benefiting from a wide display are on the bottom. The icon shows a tree, that's why it makes sense to use this perspective for the one displaying the tree.
    • To open this perspective, select Window->Open Perspective->Other, and select JavaEE. The defaults are almost right, we just have to either close the outline and task list view if we don't use it, or move them to the left (next to the Project Explorer) so that they won't occupy so much space.
    •  To attach it to Alt+1, press Ctrl+Shift+L twice (this is a double-shortcut which on first press shows the available options in a tooltip, on a second press presents us the Preferences->Key window); in type filter text enter java ee; click on Show Perspective (Parameter Java EE) ; click binding, then press the new bind-key Alt+1 and Apply and OK.
  • Java Perspective (Alt+2)
    • This one is very similar to the previous one, except that we don't have the tree displayed, which results in a much wider source-window (for developers fancying long lines...)
    • To open this perspective, select Window->Open Perspective->Other, and select Java (Default). Let's close the Outline / Task List / Spring Explorer view as well as the Package Explorer and Hierarchy view. 
    • Attach the Show Perspective (Parameter: Java) command to Alt+2
    • This results in a very clean interface; we just have to get used to press Alt+1 to switch to the view we declared previously if we need the views we just closed. Just try pressing Alt+1 and Alt+2 repetitively a couple of times; you'll see easy it is to switch. In no time we get used to press Alt+2 when we need a "code-and-tool" like environment and Alt+1 when we want to browse around in the Package Explorer / Ant / etc views.
  • Debug Perspective (Alt+3)
    • The debug-layout really depends on the developer, but the methology is similar. So open this perspective and customize it the way you want.
    • Attach it to Alt+3.
  • Team Synchronizing Perspective (Alt+4)
    • Customize / attach key like earlier.
  • Database Development Perspective (Alt+5)
    • Customize / attach key like earlier.
The last ones are really depending on your development workflow. A typical workflow using these shortcuts can be something like this:
  • Find and Open the needed class or resource:
    • Alt+1 for browsing in Project Explorer
    • Alt+2 and press Ctrl+Shift+R to quickly open the source-file/resource. Here the first couple of characters of the classname should be enough to type - or CaMeL case, e.g. if you want to open DeadLetterChannel, just enter DLC. Neat, huh? And highly addictive...
  • After the modifications are done starting the debugger switches immediately to the Debug Perspective, but if the wide code-view is needed just press Alt+2 (it's a real relief after the very-useful-but-so-crowded Debug perspective); and when you need something from the debugger tool windows, it's very easy to switch back to the Debug  Perspective with Alt+3. Since the usual shortcuts like F5 (step into), F6 (step over) and F7 (step return) work in Java perspective as well, I usually find myself stepping thru the code there, and only when I arrive at the troublesome part, I switch to the Debug Perspective to see the watches, call stacks, etc.
  • When everything is ready, debugged, etc, Alt+4 switches to the Synchronising Perspective to submit the changes to source-control.
  • After a rebuild on the development server, the Database perspective (Alt+5) can be used to interact with the database.
The order of the buttons on the top-right corner depends on the order we opened the perspectives; I usually order them the same way as my keyboard-shortcuts (e.g. the first one is JavaEE because Alt+1 activates it, etc); thus the mouse usage is coherent to the keyboard. The buttons can be easily re-ordered with the mouse by dragging them to their place (Note: the "Show Text" option is turned off on the screenshot on the top of this post)

Comments and opinions are warmly welcome!
How does your developer workflow look like?

Thanks for reading and have a nice day!


AppFuse Struts2 Tutorial with Eclipse / SpringSource Tools Suite

Excerpt from AppFuse's website:

AppFuse is an open source project and application that uses open source tools built on the Java platform to help you develop Web applications quickly and efficiently. It was originally developed to eliminate the ramp-up time found when building new web applications for customers. At its core, AppFuse is a project skeleton, similar to the one that's created by your IDE when you click through a wizard to create a new web project.

AppFuse builds on Maven to accomplish its goal. AppFuse + Maven can be used command line, creating our application with just a single line; but here we will be using Eclipse.

In this tutorial we'll go through the creation of a simple Struts2 web-application, which we'll extend later. We'll use SpringSource Tools Suite 2.2.1 (STS) which is a free tool based on Eclipse 3.5.1 with a pre-configured set of plugins useful for web-development. STS has the Maven2 plugin which we'll use to configure AppFuse for us.

So, grab a copy of SpringSource Tools from http://www.springsource.com/products/sts. After the installation, select File->New->Project... Type maven, and click Next:

Leave "Use default Workspace location" checked and click Next.

Enter struts in the filter, and select struts2-archetype-starter. This is a so called "Maven Archetype", a ready-to-be-used project template built around the Project Object Model (POM), which will create a starter application for Apache Struts 2.0. Click Next.

Now enter the following info:
  • Group Id: org.techmissive
  • Artifact Id: testdrive-struts
  • Version: 1.0.0
  • Package: org.techmissive.testdrive.struts
And click "Finish":

We have created our template project. Now Eclipse (I mean STS of course) will start downloading all our dependencies, and build the project for us. On OSX, we can see directly the Maven-log; on Windows we have to open the Console view (Alt+Shift+Q then C), and click the down-arrow next to the Open Console button on its toolbar (the window-like button left of the green lamp) and select Maven console to see what Maven is doing.

Included with this template is Jetty, a lightweight servlet container, which can be used to test our application locally without installing a full blown J2EE Server. Let's see how we can start it from STS.

Select Run -> Run Configurations... from the Menu, here we'll specify what happens when we start our application. Select 'Maven Build' from the list, and click on the New icon on the top of the window to create a new configuration.

To set the Base directory, click on Browse Workspace. Now click on testdrive-struts and OK. This sets ${workspace_loc:/testdrive-struts} in the Base directory field, which is a relative resolution from our workspace location.

To run Jetty, we have to run a given goal, so enter jetty:run-war in the goals field.

Replace the New_configuration default name with something more meaningful, like Run Jetty.

Click Apply to save, and Run to start the configuration we just created.

Now Eclipse is working again, starts to download all kind of stuff. But in the end proudly confirms the successful starting of Jetty:

Let's test if it works. Jetty is listening by default on the port 8080, so let's start a browser and check what is there. Start Safari and enter http://localhost:8080/testdrive-struts in the address field:

We have a running Web-application and we didn't have to write a single line of code. This is the main purpose of AppFuse: to provide us a skeleton application we can start working on without hours of hunting for the libraries, configuring them, etc. I just wish all the profiles would work the first time like this one...


Skype on Ubuntu: No microphone on CM8738

I have just installed Ubuntu 9.10 "Karmic Koala" on a PC containing a C-Media Electronics Inc CM8738 sound-card. Quite oddly, although the microphone seemed to work thru Application->Sound & Video->PulseAudio Volume Control, there was no playback from the Skype call testing service.

Right clicking on the Volume control icon -> Sound Preferences -> Input seemed also silent. After fooling around a bit I realized that I need to set the proper input device not in PulseAudio but in alsamixer. Typing alsamixer in a terminal starts the mixer:

Press F4 to view the Capture controls, then the right arrow until you reach the microphone:

Now press the Up Arrow to increase your volume to an acceptable level (I have set it to the max just in case), and press ESC to exit from the mixer. This sets the microphone as the default input device with an adequate volume.

Go back to Skype and redo that call-testing (she has a beautiful accent, hasn't she?)

Hopefully it works now!


Reinstall OSX, and re-partition from scratch with the installer for dual booting with Ubuntu

(This is the third part of the article Dual booting OSX and Ubuntu without REFIT)

My only problem with resizing the original OSX Snow Leopard installation is that it comes with lots of stuff I'm not using and this consumes quite some valuable disk-space. Do you really want to sacrifice 1.2GB on Language Transitions and 1.62GB on printer drivers if you don't need it? (Well, the printer drivers you may need, I have a Canon printer for which the driver is not in OSX, so I'll install separately anyway - thus I can get rid of this 1.62GB). Since I only have a 128GB drive to do the installation and I will install Logic Studio consuming some 60gigs, I prefer the reinstallation. Let's see how it works!

First and foremost, don't forget to back-up all your valuable data, since this method will destroy everything on the hard-drive. Don't forget: neither me nor anybody else can and will take responsibility for what you are doing on your own computer!

So pop in that CD (or USB key - did you know you can install Snow Leopard from an USB key?) and start the installation.

First select your language and click the arrow to proceed. In the "Install Mac OS X" window, don't continue just yet; first we will have to re-partition our hard drive. So click Utilities->Disk Utility. Click on your drive, and click on the "Partition" tab. In the "Volume Scheme" dropdown, select "4 Partitions". This will split your drive to four, equally sized partitions. Good enough to start with!

My preferred layout is the following:

osx As I will have Logic Studio installed which will take like 60 gigs, I will have to leave a huge partition for OSX. So I'll make it 74GB (I tell you how I came up with this number: I tried before and Logic just did not fit on 64GB :-) If you don't have any huge programs like Logic Pro or Final Cut, 20GB should do for the OSX partition with Office.
home Will be visible from both Ubuntu and OSX, containing the documents we are working with: videos, pictures, source-files, etc; thus, it should fill up the remaining space from all the other partitions. Since the HFS driver in Linux is not able to read/write journaled HFS partitions, we will have to change the type of this partition to non-journaled HFS. It should be non-case-sensitive as well, since Adobe products are fooled with case-sensitive file-systems. So, it will be "Mac OS Extended", which is "non-case-sensitive/non-journaled".
ubuntu The Ubuntu partition will contain the Linux OS. 16GB will do for Karmic Koala.
swap The swap partition is the virtual memory; you have to set the size depending on the amount of RAM you have. I have 4GBs, and since I want to use Hibernation I have to set it to at least 4GB (see [Swap partition size for 4GB RAM - Super User]). If hibernation is not needed, you can go away with 1GB as well.

You should come up with a layout of your own, depending on your actual situation, HDD size, OSX & Linux usages.
I have a 128GB drive, so this is how it will look like:
  • osx(74GB)
  • home(34GB).
  • ubuntu(16GB)
  • swap(5GB)
Click on the bottom-rectangle which says "Untitled 4". This selects the partition for the swap. Enter "swap" in the Name, MS-DOS in the Format, and 5GB in the Size field.

Click on the next rectangle, which says "Untitled 3". This is the partition for the Linux filesystem. Enter "ubuntu" in the Name, MS-DOS in Format and 16GB in the Size field.

Click on the next rectangle saying "Untitled 2". This is the shared partition. Enter "home" in the Name field, as size enter 34GB (or whatever you have calculated as your Shared partition size)

Click on the topmost rectangle which says "Untitled 1". This will be the partition of our OSX installation. Enter "osx" in the Name field; the size should be already fine since it equals to the remaining of all our previous partition-sizes.

Now you can click on any of the rectangles to verify your partition-sizes. If you are content, press Apply. This will do the partitioning in no time.

When it is finished, you can close Disk Utility. In the Install Mac OS X window, press Continue. Agree the Licence Agreement after reading it through, then select your "Macintosh HD" as a target disk. If you click Customize, you can remove the Printer Support if you don't have a printer or if have your own driver to install after OSX installation; as well as the Additional Fonts if you don't use those languages. I usually deselect the Language Transitions since I'm using OSX in english anyway. X11 I usually keep, but that's just because I may need it if I end up doing development in OSX.

So just click OK and Install.

After the OSX installation is finished, you can continue and Install Ubuntu 9.10 "Karmic Koala" on an already partitioned drive.

Install Ubuntu 9.10 "Karmic Koala" on an already partitioned drive

(This is the fourth part of the article Dual booting OSX and Ubuntu without REFIT)

To me it seems 64bit code runs smoother on today's hardware, so I'm using the 64bit editions if I have the chance. All Apple hardware containing Core2Duo (or better, e.g. Core i5, Core i7) processors is capable of running 64bit code; so here we're going to install Ubuntu 9.10 Desktop 64bit also known as Karmic Koala (under "Alternative download options" you'll find the 64bit edition). The nice thing is that it doesn't really matter: there is hardly any difference in setting up 32 or 64 bit Linux distributions.

Somehow installing Ubuntu thru USB didn't work for me on a Macbook Pro 4.1. So I have burnt the image to a CD and installed it from there: pop in and boot from the CD (keep pressing Alt when you turn on your Mac and select the CD), and select "English" then "Try Ubuntu without any change to my computer". Sounds careful doesn't it?

Ubuntu starts up as a live distro. Double-click on the icon Install Ubuntu 9.10. Select the language to use and click Forward.

Select your timezone and click forward.

Select your keyboard layout and click forward. On a mac, it makes sense to select USA - Macintosh.

Now comes the interesting part, partitioning. Select Specify partitions manually (advanced) and click Forward.

Since OSX is using GPT instead of MBR for partitioning our drives, you can see some strange things here, like the 200MB EFI partition (/dev/sda1) or the 134MB disk spaces between the partitions. This is fine, we just have to "see through the lines". If we write the OSX names next to the partitions everything will be clear:

/dev/sda1209 MBEFI
/dev/sda274356 MBosx
/dev/sda334000 MBhome
/dev/sda416000 MBubuntu
/dev/sda54131 MBswap

So, let's mount /dev/sda4 to "/" which will be the root of our Linux filesystem. Double-click on the line beginning with /dev/sda4, in Use as select EXT4 journaling filesystem, click Format the partition, in the Mount Point select "/" and click OK.

Now we're going to create a swap partition. Doucle-click on the /dev/sda5 line, select swap area under Use as, and click OK.

We can't select HFS in the installer, so we'll have to mount the shared "home" partition later on ourselves by the fstab file. For now, we have a root partition and a swap partition, so just click forward!

Fill in all the necessary parameters in the intimidating "Who are you" dialog and click forward again.

In the Ready to install dialog, click Install (GRUB will go into MBR, which is fine). The installation commences and will be finished in no time. Press Restart Now.

When the Mac starts up, you'll have to hold the Alt key for the operating system selector menu to pop up. Oddly the additional entry we have next to our Macintosh HD is Windows; apparently Apple thinks if there's anything next to its operating system, that will be Windows. So just select Windows and press ENTER and we are booting Ubuntu!

In the next post, we will discuss how to configure Ubuntu to have access to the Shared partition and we'll set up some symbolic links in both OSX and Ubuntu to store our Documents, Pictures, Music and Videos in the common folder, so that we have access to them no matter which one we start up.