Sep 22, 2009

Eclipse: Auto Saving before a build

I think Eclipse is great but every now and then I come across a hard to understand design decision (or perhaps it's more like a lack thereof). One such anomaly happens when you change a couple of source files and hit Build. Nothing happens. Huh? What programmer expects to change some source files hit build and have it build the old source files from before the changes were made? This is particularyly annoying when doing embedded work where the build process involves multiple steps including downloading into the target platform. It can often take a while to realize your changes are nowhere to be found and the hardware guys are starting to have Dilbert thought bubbles about you.

This particular bad decision is exacerbated by the fact that finding the setting to change this exposes another questionable design decision. Did we really need two Preference dialogs?  And no, calling one of them Preferences and the other Properties really doesn't help. Especially when the criteria for the location of a preference/property seems to have been the result of a decision process involving dice, coin flips and the astrological alignment at the time of implementation. My feeling is when you manage to thwart a programmer that is used to using complicated IDEs you've done a really good job at bad design.

But I digress, it's easy enough to change the Don't Save Before Building setting (if they had just called it that I think they might have thought twice about the default value). Well it's easy to change if you can find it, which I often can't. Most of the time I find myself using the Project preferences or typing Ctrl-3 to do a quick search. In this case it won't help. This particular setting is under the Windows menu. So use that menu and the image below and check the box indicated. Why wouldn't you?

About Me

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Tod Gentille (@todgentille) is now a Curriculum Director for Pluralsight. He's been programming professionally since well before you were born and was a software consultant for most of his career. He's also a father, husband, drummer, and windsurfer. He wants to be a guitar player but he just hasn't got the chops for it.