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Using Eclipse working sets to increase your productivity

posted under category: CFEclipse on March 31, 2006 at 1:00 am by MrNate

I mentioned working sets on my Zero To Hero presentation, but here's a googlable rundown of this amazing feature that ships with Eclipse. Thanks to Rob W for asking about it on the Eclipse Users list.

How will it make me more productive?
There are a few great advantages of using the working set feature. Mental organization for one. Like, if I say, "I want to work on the security feature of my site." Well if I make a set for everything that interacts with my security, I can select the set and go straight to work with all the relevant files in view.

The other great use for working sets is the searching. [ctrl] + h brings up the (extended) search window. Right at the bottom you can select a working set to search in. This is great if you want to search a number of projects at once but not others, or if you want to search certain ungrouped subfolders.

How do you make a working set?
In the navigator view (the common one with all your projects), click the down arrow on the top right corner. The top option should be "select working set." A box will pop up and show you a list of your sets (currently empty).

Click on the "New..." button and make a Resource working set - resource means physical files & folders. Give it a name on the next screen and select the projects / folders / files you wan to include in this set. When you're finished, you can select that working set from the list window. If you hit cancel, it won't save your set!

When you hit ok, your navigator will switch to viewing your chosen working set. Hit the down arrow again to deselect your set and go back to the normal navigator view.

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On Mar 31, 2006 at 1:00 AM Barney ( said:
Not really working sets, but you can also "go into" a given folder via the context menu. That'll make the selected folder the root item of the explorer view. You can also select a folder (or folders) and hit CTRL-h to search within them (via 'selected resources' search scope).

Not a replacement for working sets, but you can get some of the benefits in an ad hoc fashion, which can be very handy.

On Mar 31, 2006 at 1:00 AM Rob Cameron ( said:
Holy crap that's amazing! I had no idea something like that existed. Very handy!!

On Mar 31, 2006 at 1:00 AM mikeD (asdfoiujkl at the ever popular said:
We need more stuff like this for eclipse! What would be nice is if there was a 'help' button for stuff like this. Great tip, keep them coming!

On Apr 10, 2006 at 1:00 AM David (davidl from said:
Eclipse actually does have help; go to Help/Help Contents, wait 5 minutes or so for it to load the content for all the parts (including java, plugins, etc etc :), then go to the Workbench User Guide and ignore the others. Check out Getting Started/Basic/Navigating Resources, and Concepts/Workbench to start.
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