What’s new in Eclipse Photon M7?
We’ve made it to the last milestone for Eclipse Photon. So, what can we expect from this milestone release? Eclipse Photon M7 boasts a number of stylistic changes for the Eclipse theme, some new feature support, and most importantly, Java 10 support.
Nothing is faster than the speed of light, but we’re hurtling towards the general release for Eclipse Photon M7 at a rapid pace. Eclipse Photon’s general release is due to arrive sometime at the end of June. Judging by the steady news from the development teams, everything sounds good to go.
Eclipse Photon M7
So, what can we expect from this latest milestone release? As we’ve covered before, the main goal for Eclipse Photon is to improve usability for developers. Does the M7 release manage that? Let’s take a look at some of the big changes. For a closer look, head on over to the changelog for absolutely everything.
Part of improving usability means improving stylistic choices and the ergonomics of the default themes. If the UI/UX isn’t fun and easy to use or navigate, then it makes things difficult for developers. As such, we’ve got a number of changes to make things easier to read, clearer to understand, and generally prettier to look at.
Most of these changes are for Eclipse Photon’s default dark theme. Now, the collapse and expand nodes in the text editor are clearer and easier to read, along with the generic editor’s mark occurrences annotation. Canvas elements are now styled in the default dark theme and links are now a consistent blue color.
Widget-wise, the tree and table widget scale Checkboxes and the collapse/expand buttons properly on a high DPI on Windows. There’s also override support for the use of GTK_THEME as an environment variable. There’s improved memory usage for developers utilizing Eclipse SWT on GTK3. Additionally, Eclipse has now adopted Ant 1.10.3.
Importantly, Eclipse Photon M7 has dropped its support for Windows XP. If you’re using anything older than Windows Vista, it’s time to upgrade. (Also, kudos on you for managing to make it that far on an OS developed in 2001.)
The big news for this milestone release is definitely the complete support for Java 10. Now, Eclipse Photon in all versions supports the new Java, 100%. So, this means there are a lot of Java 10 improvements, including support for the new Java 10 language enhancement in the Eclipse compiler for Java (ECJ). Plus, the Java 10 JRE is immediately recognized by Eclipse for launching. Compiler compliance can be set to version 10 on a Java project.
Additionally, there is now support for
var compilation. However, it will be flagged as an error if the type of
var can’t be inferred. Code completion is offered where
var is allowed and not offered where it isn’t.
Going along with the stylistic theme, the formatter preference tree is now available in the dark theme. Eclipse Photon also offers a quick fix to upgrade your project to change the compliance to Java 10.
Another usability feature makes it easy to fix compliance for Java projects version 9 and above. The
--release feature allows developers to configure a compilation against a platform version API of their choice. This supports API versions 1.7 and above and it is enabled by default for anything using JRE 9 and above. However, “Access rules intrinsic to JRE” will only available to users through the
There’s not much to talk about in this milestone release for the platform developers. Eclipse Photon M7 now supports
enabledWhen for the all Generic Editor extension points. There’s also a new API monitor, which returns the zoom values used by SWT for the Monitor. This can be used to return the new DPI when the monitor’s DPI changes dramatically, as well as support a multi-monitor setup.
These features are just the ones that are new since the previous milestone build (M6).