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Scala IDE for Eclipse 3.0 brings semantic highlighting and speed boost

Chris Mayer

A year on from Typesafe pushing out the Scala-tuned IDE, the team’s latest release suggests maturity, thanks to a new debugger and editor improvements

One of Typesafe’s supporting cast has received a major overhaul, with the latest edition of Scala IDE for Eclipse arriving.

Scala’s parent company gave the project a seal of approval in 2010, by backing the Eclipse-supported development environment specifically honed for Scala developers, after it had gained a strong community as a open source project. Scala IDE 2.0 emerged a year later, marking a huge change from the initial codebase, with Scala IDE Lead Iulian Dragos revealing that “mistakes” had been made in building the compiler.

This year’s release isn’t as radical as its predecessor, but shows the project’s maturity and professional edge seen in other IDEs. The most obvious change is a injection of colour, with semantic highlighting now making it easy to pick out Scala identifiers such as deprecated methods and mutable variables. Implicit highlighting and hyperlinking are also new, making it easier to work with implicit annotations. This also enables fluid DSLs, described by the team as a “amazing” Scala collection library. 

The inclusion of a Scala debugger will appease developers wanting something other than the Java equivalent. The team “wanted to improve” upon the existing Java debugging tools to avoid JVM compilation artifacts. The set of debugging tools make it easier to handle collections and artifacts, and is far faster the set bundled in the previous milestone.

Indeed, there’s a heavy focus on making the Scala editor responsive and more robust with processing moved into the background.

Like other IDEs, having an plugin ecosystem is a necessity and two new plugins receive top billing in the release notes. ScalaTest makes it possible to inspect scalatest fixtures within the Eclipse IDE, whereas Scala Worksheet lets you experiment with expressions, giving you a preview of the resulting action.

The largest release to date is now available to download with individual versions for Scala 2.9 and 2.10, as well as plugins for Eclipse Indigo (3.7) and Juno (4.2). 

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