Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Subclipse, the Eclipse SVN GUI

Since there is too little blogging content going out here, why don't I make a post where I list the oddities of the Eclipse SVN client, the one called Subclipse? I am considering creating a new GUI implementation for SVN myself, or else I think I might just not do this list, since I am afraid of coming across as something of a whiner.

I am not saying whining is all bad, but it might be something of a mental pollutant.  On the good side, it can be used for shared recognition of a problem, which is a collective good; or as a vent, which is less of a collective good. Digression completed.

So, lets go. First, off the top of the head:

  • It's not very well integrated with the rest of the file management, it's like a separate plugin. Because it is a separate plugin. 
  • It does not to pre-flight, IYSWIM: when you do a commit, it can Fail, due to sync errors; you may recognize when this happens, by the informative, if not helpful message "You must update" or "synchronize" or something like that. The client could and should talk to the server in the background to find out about this. 
  • When the commit dialog opens, the tree is not expanded, at all, even if it's a single path and a single file. A single file is not shown. Etcetera. 
  • There seems to be no 'Synchronize' keyboard shortcut by default. I mean, what? This is something I do almost as often as saving. Saving can be preferenced (Yes, so I verbed; alright?) to be done automatically, but I would not go so far yet. At least with SVN. 
Actually, that's a really good start. Some items rather high-level, I was aiming lower. Maybe I should add bugs I've happened upon. But some of them are with svn itself, and that's another department. And this post is intended as an updateable list, so 'see you soon' I guess.

Well, I'm back before I left: 
  • The dialog box -- why is it so small by default? Can't use anything behind it anyway. UI designers; when you consider creating a small popup dialog box, ask yourselves: what is it about this particular task that makes it easier to do in a small dialog box rather than a big dialog box? The answer would be 'nothing', 99 out of 100, I believe. And remember, programmers should have big screens. You should have one yourself. 
  • The inconsistency in editing. In the compare view, the left and right hand side editors seem to be different, in ways other than those useful to the completion of the task. And the commit message editor seems to have almost none of the amenities of the real editors. No undo? What the? And you can't copy from the other editors, since it's a modal dialog, that blocks the background window from use. 

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