eclipse essentials: Grep Console plug-in

Friday, February 17th, 2012 | IDE, Java, Tech-savvy | No Comments

Every time I set up a mint eclipse I am wondering why an IMHO essential feature is missing: a configurable coloured console.

I like stacktraces to be red and “JBoss started” messages to be bold. I like the important log entry you are looking for to be highlighted with a yellow background.

All this bliss is provided by a very nice plug-in I’ve been using for years: Grep Console.

Using it is very easy and intuitive. Just select the desired text part in your standard console output, right-click and choose “Add Grep Expression”.

You can add colour and format information for background & font of the matching expression or the whole line.

That’s basically it, there is not much more to say, yet sometimes it’s the simple things that make us happy, right? 🙂

Go get your Grep Console using this URL as your eclipse update site:

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Linux Mint 10: Common post installation tasks

Saturday, February 12th, 2011 | Linux, Tech-savvy | 3 Comments

I installed a few Mint boxes lately, mostly due to the release of Mint 10. You already get a lovely OS out of the box, but there are things I like to “fix” after an installation that others may like to do as well. Inspired by urfix‘s “25 command” posts (25 best Linux commands, plus even more 25’s listed in “popular posts”) I collected the x things to do after an initial installation. Have phun!

  1. Fix vi movement problem
  2. Having trouble moving in vi’s input mode? Strange characters appearing when you try to move in your text? Try to disable the vi compatibility mode (yes, you are not using vi but vim):

    echo set nocompatible >> ~/.vimrc
  3. Install the nonfree version of VirtualBox (3.x) for USB support
  4. If you need USB support do not install VirtualBox OSE but the nonfree version.

    apt-get install virtualbox-nonfree

    After that, make sure your user is member of the virtualbox group, otherwise you won’t be able to access your USB devices.

    As of version 4 of VirtualBox, Oracle decided to make the main VirtualBox software open-source, and now licenses a proprietary ‘extension pack’ containing the RDP server and USB support. I have not fiddled with this package yet.

  5. Change terminal colour scheme
  6. The default white scheme is not easy on my eyes. Ouch! IMHO a terminal has to have black background (slightly transparent if you like) and grey (for the hardcore: green) text colour. It’s still a computer screen, right? 😉

  7. Enable .local name resolution for your M$ network
  8. Trying to resolve some .local Windoze DNS lookalike? Try editing your /etc/nsswitch.conf file, change

    hosts: files mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return] dns mdns4 wins


    hosts: dns files mdns4_minimal mdns4
  9. Enable CP1252 in eclipse for your M$ originated source code
  10. I work at a company that mainly uses Windoze boxes. This is not an excuse not to use UTF-8 as your default encoding, but we have a lot of source code encoded with Windoze default encoding, namly CP1252. Still, its pretty easy to participate in the hacking using a *nix box:

    • make sure CP1252 is available
    • locale -m | grep CP1252
    • open a new workspace
    • close eclipse and edit .metadata/.plugins/org.eclipse.core.runtime/.settings/org.eclipse.core.resources.prefs
    • encoding=CP1252
    • restart eclipse
    • start checking out CP1252 source code

    This may seem a bad way to solve the problem, because you can easily change your default encoding using Window -> Preferences -> General -> Workspace -> Text File Encoding, but guess what, CP1252 is initially not listed here. So you have to tell eclipse the hard way 🙂

  11. Enable (full) localhost name resolution
  12. Sometimes I need more names for my loopback interface than localhost or the real name of my box. In fact, as I am also an OpenCms developer, I have to have multiple localhost DNS names to access my multisite installation. OpenCms maps sites using DNS name. So, if you need to add some names to your localhost for local development, don’t add names using the IP4 loopback but use IP6’s loopback, otherwise you won’t be able access your site with e.g. Firefox (even though a terminal’s ping works flawless using just the IP4 loopback).

    Edit /etc/hosts

    ::1        silentbox localhost6.localdomain6 localhost6 *add-name-here*  silentbox *not-here*

    Only problem: restarting the system the network manager rewrites the file with default settings, thus deleting your precious changes. I still have to figure out how to solve this.

  13. Disable / cripple fortune
  14. Just recently I was told “You will be divorced within a year.” I really don’t need that distraction. Mint doesn’t even bother to separate the offensive ones from the non-offensive ones.

    vi /etc/bash.bashrc

    and then delete the following line or make it a comment


    You could also delete just the fortune files you don’t want to be bothered with, they are located here: /usr/share/games/fortunes/

  15. Use SSH keys
  16. This is so common I almost forgot to mention it. Read about using SSH keys for authentication here (sorry, Andreas, I know you don’t like “here” links).

I know this list is highly personal, talking about colour schemes and pimping eclipse to work with CP1252 code. Still, some may find something of interest in this. Do you think a common set up task is missing? Just let me know, I am always keen to learn a new trick or two that enhances your every day computer work.

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eclipse shortcuts

Thursday, August 12th, 2010 | IDE, Java, Quirks | 2 Comments

Kids, after a hard day’s labour I Crtl-Alt-S’ed myself into the team sync perspective to commit my stuff. After doing so this conversation happened in our team room today:

What was the shortcut for getting back to the Java perspective again?
Hmm, dunno, hit Ctrl-Shift-L
What’s that?
That’s the shortcut for the shortcuts.

True Story. 😎

P.S. Technically Ctrl-Alt-S doesn’t mean “switch to the team sync perspective” but “sync with repo” implicating a switch to the team sync perspective.
P.P.S. Don’t tell me to use Ctrl-Shift-F8 – first, it’s not “switch to Java perspective” and second that’s the dumbest non-accessible shortcut ever. I always reassign it to Ctrl-Tab thus being far more convenient IMHO.
P.P.P.S. Yes, I know you can assign a shortcut to the not bound by default Java perspective.
P.P.P.P.S. If you are still reading this you didn’t get the post’s joke. It’s not about the Java perspective at all. 😀

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Windows 7 ClearType WTF?

Sunday, March 28th, 2010 | IDE, Misc, Tech-savvy | 2 Comments

I recently had to switch to Windoze 7. I am not the kind of guy who likes migrating to new OSs – the biggest challenge was the switch from an all tuned Win98 SE to Windows XP almost a decade ago. Well, times change, and I don’t have to be on a first name basis with every file on my system partition any more. Things should just run, stable, fast and smart (oh, it does all that by itself?). Something that Linux Mint does for me every time I need a free OS for a random project (HTPC, friend’s netbook, arcade emulation machine, you name it). Windows 7 has been a great piece of software so far, it’s as fast as XP, has a good look and feel and does smart things like getting drivers from M$ so I don’t have to dl them from third party websites (btw: Dell, I pretty much hate you for your “support” section… it’s such a mess!).

All right, back to topic. I want to share some experience I gathered with Microsoft ClearType technology. This is a short description taken from Wikipedia:

ClearType is a trademark for Microsoft‘s implementation of subpixel rendering technology. ClearType attempts to improve the appearance of text on certain types of computer display screens by sacrificing color fidelity for additional intensity variation. This trade-off is asserted to work well on LCD flat panel monitors.

With ClearType enabled I have the constant feeling that my display has a focus problem. I’m really into pixels 😉 and I want to see ’em, not some blurry optimized mud. I understand the need for soft-focused cutting/editing using image manipulation software like Photoshop or Gimp, but fonts should be plain (black) pixels on plain (white) background. This is just my opinion, others may like the new style better.  I also agree that ClearType makes sense on a certain display size / resolution / dpi ratio, say a 20″ full-hd display with 120 DPI could be a good choice for subpixel rendering. I prefer the old style ratios like 20″ 1680×1050 75 DPI or 24″ full-hd 75 DPI.

Anyway, here are some examples of bad “optimization” and how I got rid of them, well, almost.

The first program that hurt my eyes was the eclipse IDE. Being a software developer I work with the eclipse workbench on a daily basis. What I did was copy my eclipse workspaces from my old XP box to the new machine. (Something I really like about development tools (eclipse, Java, MySQL, JBoss, …) – they don’t have to be installed, just unzip/copy ’em and you are ready to go. )

I launched eclipse and something felt different. I blinked my eyes. Still, something odd was displayed on my screen. I thought “OMG, ClearType”, so I disabled this feature as I did every time before I ever came across it (mostly Internet Explorer). The font rendering in the text editor was fine now, but suddenly the explorer tree looked horrible. See for yourself (click to enlarge, browse the enlarged pictures to see the difference):

I was stuck with either a nice representation of the explorer tree or a feel good editor. This sucked big time! But I found a solution to this problem, which included the enabling of the ClearType feature. Yikes! After fiddling with eclipse’s font settings I found the bugger! “Courier New” (the font I had used for source code for years) is getting rendered blurry, “Courier” doesn’t (@see font dialogue on the right hand side).

Switching from “Courier New” to “Courier” solved the rendering issue, but I did not like the line-height of “Courier”, the code seemed to be squeezed together, but this is another issue 🙂

The rendering “bug” was found and “Courier New” is history to me – today I use “Segoe UI” and I am pretty fond of the font. (Plz forgive me for that bad joke, it was just too tempting… 🙂 )

Conclusion: What I find annoying about the font rendering settings is the fact, that you cannot choose between an old sk00l font rendering style and the new ClearType way, meaning 1:1 pixels vs. subpixel rendering. You can only choose between bad (ClearType on) and worse (ClearType off) font rendering using Windows 7. While I am typing this my eyes really feel stressed reading on my Win7 machine and it’s always a pleasure to go back to my private ole WinXP desktop. *Sigh* It seems to me M$ foobared the non-ClearType rendering that bad you just have to use ClearType. So they can say: “Look, it all looks better with ClearType”. Yeah, right!

But M$ does not have to dictate how fonts are getting rendered. Software can give you the opportunity to choose the font rendering style. Read on for a good example on how a piece of software lets you choose how fonts are displayed.

Another tool I use on a regular basis is PuTTY. Again, “Courier New” used to be my weapon of choice for shells and as soon as I started using PuTTY on Windows 7 with ClearType enabled my eyes were screaming “Focus! Fooocus!” – I opened the font preferences dialogue and found some pretty interesting settings.

PuTTY gives you the opportunity to choose a font “quality” from Antialiased, Non-Antialiased, ClearType and Default. Default is enabled by, well yes, default, which is ClearType on systems that have ClearType enabled. I simply chose Non-Antialiased and all my font problems were solved. I can stick to “Courier New” with a proper line-heigt (in contrast to “Courier”) and crisp font rendering. Finully! Now I just have to wait for other tool developers to offer similar options to end users or the world falling into subpixel rendering apathy. Either way, until 200+DPI displays are released to the open public I will miss the good ole “a pixel is just a pixel” days and try to eliminate bad display “optimization”.

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eclipse IDE Subversion integration – Galileo still foobared

Sunday, July 19th, 2009 | IDE, Java, Tech-savvy | No Comments

eclipseAnother post on getting your subversion running in eclipse – this time it’s the brand new Galileo release.

To cut a long story short: SVN integration is still a manual tedious process. I don’t want to complain too much this time, now that I know it’s because of legal issues eclipse is not coming with an out of the box SVN support – even though the Subversive team provider is part of eclipse, the connectors cannot be published together with Subversive because the eclipse legal rules don’t support the connectors’ license, just Google it for more information)

So here is how you do it:

Help ->  Install New Software… -> Galileo -> Collaboration -> Subversive SVN Team Provider (Incubation)

Help ->  Install New Software… -> Add -> -> SVN Connectors

Install all or just the connector you really need, my favourite one is SVN Kit, because it works fine and has svn+ssh:// support.

If you chose to install all connectors you can change the implementation in Window -> Preferences -> Team -> SVN

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Speedtesting my a$$

Thursday, June 25th, 2009 | IDE, Tech-savvy | No Comments

I just moved into a new flat and as soon as my provider got me hooked up again I was keen on measuring the DSL speed I pay for. I tried a few so called speed tests, but they gave me awkward results.

There is a way to test the speed of your connection that worked for me. Download a recent release of eclipse (Galileo was just released) using a BitTorrent client. Whoooha, full throttle at the expected download rate. Now I am assured that I really get what I pay for.

I’ll never try to use some speed testing websites again… what a waste!

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eclipse builds automatically, again

Saturday, June 20th, 2009 | IDE, Java | No Comments

As I wrote in my previous post “eclipse doesn’t want to build – at least not automatically“, the “Build Automatically” feature of the eclipse IDE got disabled from time to time for no obvious reason. After googling a little bit I found a bug in the m2eclipse plug-in and tried working with an updated version. No more problems occurred after the update. If you experience the same oddity try updating your m2eclipse plug-in to the latest version. Cheers!

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eclipse doesn’t want to build – at least not automatically

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 | IDE, Java | 1 Comment

Every once in a while eclipse disables the “Build automatically” setting from the “Project” menu for no obvious reason. This is quite annoying, because sometimes it takes a while before you start blaming your IDE to be the reason for your code not working as expected.

Most often I become aware of the missing “Build automatically” feature while in debugging mode. Normally editing code while in debugging mode makes eclipse drop to the current (just replaced) frame to continue debugging with the recent changes. If the debugger just sits there without dropping – you know the automatically build flag’s most probably gone again …

Right now I am using eclipse 3.4.1, but I experienced this odd behaviour since 3.2 at least. Google told me about a few other people, who experienced the same oddity.

The only thing I found was this bug report from the m2eclipse plugin (which I am currently using) bug tracker:

The bug should be fixed since version 0.9.8 (got released May 1st) – I’ll update my plugin and see whether the problem will be gone. As I cannot force the problem to occur this may take a few days of testing.

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eclipse IDE Subversion integration – Ganymede SR2 still foobared

Friday, May 15th, 2009 | IDE, Java, Tech-savvy | 5 Comments

Today I set up a fresh dev environment, and guess which step made my stray again? Right, the frickin’ SVN connection. I reread my own blog post to set it up, but even though I am (just) using the current service release of the eclipse Ganymede release I am stuck again!

First, the “Subversive SVN Team Provider” URL is no longer provided by the software update process. Come one guys, why are you making the process even worse?

After installing the Subversive plug-in and the SVN Kit connector I restarted the IDE – but I got

Selected SVN connector library is not available or cannot be loaded.

I didn’t dig too deep after that, this issue took away far too much spare time already, so I just installed the whole “Subversive SVN Connectors” tree.  Still no connector available in Window – Preferences – Team – SVN – SVN Connectors. The dropdown list is just plain empty. This is really freaking me out… damn, I just want to work!

After that I installed all the stuff both the SVN Connectors and the Subversive site offered. Still no luck. This sucks big time! I’ll now consult Google trying to find some blog post similar to the one I wrote for the initial Ganymede release.

Okay, done it. Solution: clean install (unpack) of eclipse Ganymede SR2, add both the SVN Connectors as well as the Subversive update sites:

Install (I installed them all at once):

  • Subversive Site => Subversive SVN Team Provider Plugin (Incubation) => Subversive SVN Team Provider (Incubation)
  • SVN Connectors Site => Subversive SVN Connectors => Subversive SVN Connectors
  • SVN Connectors Site => Subversive SVN Connectors => SVNKit 1.2.2 Implementation (Optional)

Restart eclipse. After that I was good to go! Easy when you know how it’s done! 😉 Thanks to Universität Karlsruhe for providing the information. Another hour wasted for no good reason. Anybody tried the brand new M7 of eclipse Galileo already?

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eclipse Subversive oddity: don’t commit on a tag – unless it is not a tag!

Monday, March 2nd, 2009 | IDE, Java, Tech-savvy | No Comments

After using the recent eclipse Ganymede release with the provided Subversion connection (@see eclipse IDE Subversion integration – a pain every single time) for some time I came across an oddity that I blogged about on my company’s blog.

eclipse complains about you trying to commit on a tag even if you are not working on a tag (who does, anyway?) – you just have to use subversion keywords in your package names to get a nasty nag screen every time you try to commit your work. Why should you do that anyway? Get the answer to this question and the explanation why this oddity happens reading this article at codecentric‘s blog (provided in both English and German).

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