Fortunately I work with a large number of people who are both smarter and more patient than myself, so I was able to get help. Fred Sauer, better known as one of the minds behind Angry Birds Chrome, sat down and shared some tips that ended up making a huge difference to me. Here's a selection of the tips that helped me the most:
- Eclipse "workspaces" are pretty much just like Visual Studio solutions. They seem different and weird at first, because (a) they're directories, not files, and (b) Eclipse makes you choose one at startup. But end of the day, they're just containers for projects.
- "Close Unrelated Projects" is the magic command to unclutter your workspace--it closes up every project that doesn't live in the dependency chain of the project you're currently working on. Nice!
- Command+3 (Ctrl+3 on Windows) is your friend. It brings up a quick search of all menu items, keyboard commands, and shortcuts. This is one Eclipse feature I really wish Visual Studio had--I use it all the time and it makes learning the IDE far easier. Unless, of course, you don't know what the command you want is named....
- The command I want most but couldn't figure out the name for: Backward History. It's the rough equivalent of Ctrl+Tab in Visual Studio. There's also a Forward History.
- Eclipse builds all the time by default. You can turn this off in the Project menu, at which point Ctrl+B does what F7 does in Visual Studio.
Thanks to Fred's tips--especially the one about Command+3--I've been able to use Eclipse for a week or two now without wanting to chew off my own arm and use it to club people to death. So that's an improvement. I won't say I love Eclipse--I doubt I ever will--but I'm coming to terms with it. If I find any more useful tips I'll post them here.