The Best Eclipse Menu You’ve Never Heard Of

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Where I work, a kind of schizophrenia is the norm. It’s rare that I can work on any single Jira issue, from start to finish, without being pulled off of that issue and onto another. It’s also rare for me to have fully defined requirements backing any single issue, and so even when I think I’m finished, I usually need to revisit. What I’m trying to say is that there’s a whole lot of start/stop/resume. It’s not ideal, but it’s how we roll.

Prior to Mylyn, this was maddening. Mylyn, though, makes it easy to get into, out of, and back into issues at the point where I left off. In earlier versions (I’m thinking around the Eclipse 3.3 timeframe), Mylyn would contribute a toolbar item that made it braindead simple to navigate previous tasks. It is a little purple arrow which looks like this:


When you want to work on a previously worked-on issue, you simply hit the arrow, pick your previous issue from the list, and you’re back in the context of that issue. It is, no question, my most frequently used toolbar item.

Around the 3.4 timeframe, it went missing from a fresh Eclipse install. Here’s how to get it back:

  1. Window – Customize Perspective
  2. Select the “Command Groups Availability” tab
  3. In the “Available Command Groups” pane, scroll down toward the bottom and find the “Task Navigation Extras” checkbox. Toggle it. Save your windows
  4. Exult!

Here’s what the Command Groups tab should look like:



While you’re poking around the Command Groups, note that you can also deselect stuff that you don’t use, which can aid in noise reduction. Enjoy.



mrgccc3 said...

I've been pushing my new place to use mylyn since they recently acquired a new issue/bug/task tracker with an available mylyn plug-in but the higher ups just criticize me. They repeat how they don't know if that's the best idea. I guess that's what happens when you start over, no one cares about your opinion.

Marc Esher said...

what would it matter what they think, Mike? All it does it make it easier to associate a "context" with an issue. If they don't want to use it, why would that stop you from using it? If you like to work faster, and they like to work slower, that's their own problem.

mrgccc3 said...

I have been, I actually bought the mylyn connector for 20 bucks because it makes my life so much easier. And if I drop cash on something you know I must really like it.

Marc Esher said...

20 bucks for mylyn is a no-brainer. Good on you, Mike.

Jim said...

That's a gem! And I like the 'deactivate task' on there as well!

stp said...

You might also be interested in the Mylyn UI Experiments extensions which provides a trim that shows the active task and lets you activate previously active tasks. Some related discussion is on this bug:

303278: Let the Task Trim Widget finally escape from incubation