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[ide-dev] Auto-configuring projects when opening editors

Hi all,

While chatting with a recent VSCode users who switched from Eclipse IDE on Twitter, I was mentioned one very important thing where VSCode still excels compared to Eclipse IDE (and others): auto-configuration of projects when opening a file.
In VSCode, when one opens a file and an extension is installed for it, VSCode automatically makes the project usable. That can involve creation of local files or just startup of the language server, whatever, the result is the same: it works.
In Eclipse IDE, if I open a C file in a project that doesn't have the CDT nature, not much happens.

While we've made progress regarding auto-discovery of possible extensions to install, auto-discovery of project configuration at import, Eclipse IDE still misses this important step happening when creating or opening a new file under an existing project.
I don't think this is something that can easily be provided by the Platform, as each language-specific extension would have it's own requirement to configure project. So it would be up to each specific editor to suggest that when opening a file.

For example, if I'm in a non-typed project and open a pom.xml with the m2e editor, this editor could (suggest me to) configure the project to enable Maven; if I open a Java file and have JDT installed, the editor could suggest to configure the Java nature and so on...

This workflow would considerably improve usability, so please consider it in your future development ;)
Mickael Istria
Eclipse IDE developer, at Red Hat Developers community
Elected Committer Representative at the Eclipse Foundation board of directors