Geertjan's Blog

  • August 25, 2006

NetBeans Keyboard Shortcut of the Week (3)

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager
This week's "Keyboard Shortcut of the Week" gets 10 out of 10 in the categories "Obscurity", "Wackiness", and "Hmmm. Not wild about it, but pretty cool anyway."

So, you're in the source view of something that also has a design view. Which, basically, means you're in the source view of the Matisse GUI Builder. Or, possibly, you're in the source view of the web.xml Visual Editor. (Or, I guess, you could even be in the source view of your own MultiView API implementation.) Or you could be in some other source/design combination. And then...

...you press Alt-Shift-Left. (Alternatively, instead of Left, use Right.) And now... you magically find yourself in the design view. Press the same unlikely combination of keys again, and you're back in the source view.

Now, before you say: "That's about as useful as polka dots to a polar bear," step back a second and consider this—the whole point of keyboard shortcuts is to not need to take your hands off the keyboard. Now, how often do you find yourself in the source view of something that also has a design view? Answer: A lot, if you're some kind of GUI programmer, a module programmer, a rich-client application programmer, a J2ME programmer... i.e., anyone using the IDE's visual designers must at some point want to go to the source view. Isn't it a useful thing to be able to switch from the one view to the other view, without needing to move the mouse to toggle the Source/Design buttons?

If, like me, you find the combination Alt-Shift-Left just about as easy as eating a bowl of cornflakes in a hurricane, go to the "Go To" section in the Keymap (in the Options window) and change the "Previous Inner View" mapping to something else. (One reason why this keyboard shortcut is so obscure is probably because it has the obscure name "Previous Inner View".) For one whole week, this keyboard shortcut will have pride of place in the left navigation bar of this blog. Use it—it'll make your life even better than it already is.

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Comments ( 3 )
  • Ahmed Mohombe Friday, August 25, 2006
    BTW Keyboard shortcuts:

    IMHO it would be very smart move from Netbeans if it would support also the IntelliJ shortcuts by default. It already does with those from Eclipse and Emacs, but IMHO the more the better.

    From all IDEs IntelliJ is the most "keyboard" oriented, as every aspect/feature of the IDE can be very easily accessed with a shortcut.

    Considering that IntelliJ is not a platform (just an IDE), many programmers that need to develop RCPs might consider NB over Eclipse(or Spring RCP), but as long as the process is painful (no "a la" IntelliJ shortcuts) only very few will invest hours of work to remap all shortcuts.

  • Rory Friday, August 25, 2006
    I kind of dissagree with you there Ahmed, I have changed a lot of my keyboard short cuts because before changing to NB I was a JBuilder/JDeveloper user, and when I moved to NB I just couldn't get used to not clicking F9 to play though to the next break whilst debugging.
    I also changed things like "Build Class" to CTRL-F12... my point is, that using the NB Keymap is quick and simple, and I still use those keymaps because NB very nicely copies these over for me when I move to the next release d(5.5 B2).
  • Ahmed Mohombe Sunday, August 27, 2006

    IMHO you are very subjective :).

    From the many seminars I made, I can tell you that most of the developers I know don't behave like that :) :

    - volutarely, only newbies tend to change their shortcut set.

    - unvoluntarely, experienced programmers, only than accept this change when the gain is very huge (but this must be the perceived by the indivitual as a gain). This is why (in the age on intelligent IDEs) there are many, many emacs and vi users.

    - most people stick with the shortcuts they learnt while "growing" as a programmer (so the period from newbie to advanced).

    In my case this was many years ago, so most of my shortcuts are from Borland's "Turbo" family :).

    Shortcuts are for most people(who work professionaly and are/want to be efficient in their job) something like riding a bike, or typing with ten fingers - one never forgets this, and after the autmatism is aquired, is incredibly hard to change it, hence their resistence against other shortcut sets .

    IntelliJ was such a leap and performance gain too. All these users will call and speak about the features by their shortcuts (Quick help = Ctrl+Q, show parameters Ctrl + P, etc) not by their name :).

    just my 2 cents,

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