Debugging Java in Eclipse
August 21, 2002 Timothy Prickett Morgan
We have been using VisualAge for Java to develop Java applications for over a year. Recently, we decided to make the 1.3 JDK our standard JDK. Unfortunately, VisualAge does not include support for the 1.3 JDK, so it looks like we will need to move to another IDE. We have been looking at Eclipse, but it does not have a built-in team repository and you cannot change an executing program in the debugger. Are there other IDEs that support a team repository and editing during debug?
You don’t mention which version of Eclipse you tried, but if you are using Version 2.0 and the 1.4 Software Development Kit (SDK) available from Sun, the debugger will reload modified classes when they are saved. This feature is new and doesn’t always work, but I have had good luck using Sun’s 1.4.1 Beta SDK.
To use the new 1.4 SDK, you will have to go to the preferences tab located on the Windows drop-down list and expand the Java options. Click on installed JREs, click the add button, and specify the directory where you installed the 1.4 SDK. Note, if you are using an older version of Windows, such as Windows 95 or Windows 98, you may also have to add the 1.4 SDK at the beginning of the path environment variable in a batch file that starts Eclipse.
At this point, you probably don’t want to use any of the new features introduced by the 1.4 SDK, but if you do, you will need to go to the compiler options page and select the JDK compliance tab. If you select 1.4, Eclipse will allow you to use classes that are new to the 1.4 SDK.
Eclipse may not have a built in team repository, but it does support Concurrent Versions System (CVS), which is an open source tool that tracks source changes. I can’t give you a complete description of CVS in the space allotted here, but I can point you to some resources and give you a few tips on using CVS with Eclipse.
There are several versions of CVS that run on various versions of Unix, Linux, and Windows. Given a choice, I would recommend Linux because that is what the Eclipse developers tested against. Most versions of Linux come with CVS, or you can download the latest Linux RPM from the CVS downloads page. If you decide to use Windows to run your CVS server, one of the best sources of information is the CVSNT Installation Tips page . Also, be aware that aliased repository names do not work properly with CVSNT and Eclipse.
Before you add a new file to a CVS repository in Eclipse, look at the type. If Eclipse says a file is binary and the file contains text, select preferences from the Windows drop-down menu. Next, expand Team and select File Content. Add the extension of your text file to the list of files and make sure that it shows ASCII. If you miss this step, you can fix the type by right clicking on the file in the Navigator view, select Team, and Change ASCII/Binary property.
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