In this article we will discuss working sets and how they are used to categorize and display subsets of applications in the navigator. By the end of this article, the reader will have learned how to create, edit, delete, and show (or hide) working sets.
In past Designer versions (until Designer 8), a user could organize and group their applications by dragging them to folders on the bookmark bar. With Eclipse comes the notion of working sets. Much of the functionality remains the same as with folders, such as grouping applications together or the ability to show only those applications in the navigator (while filtering out the rest). With working sets, however, the navigator feels more flexible and dynamic. In place of a bookmark bar, working sets are controlled neatly from a drop-down menu in the navigator's toolbar. It's a breeze to move applications in and out of working sets, and we can display as many as we want in the navigator at any given time. What's been brought to the table is a cleaner, more encapsulated mechanism for organizing and managing the applications in the workspace.
Accessing the Working Set Manager
The working set manager dialog is accessed via the navigator toolbar, either by clicking directly on the "Manage working sets" icon or by selecting the "Manage Working Sets..." option in the drop-down menu. The other options in the drop-down menu will be covered later.
Once selected, the working set manager is displayed. Any working set operation can be performed from this dialog. You can see that my list is currently empty, as I do not have any sets created.
How They Work
To illustrate the functions in this section, I have populated my workspace with five applications. Of course, users with a large amount of applications in their workspace will gain the most value from working sets. As we go through the operations, it will become evident that users with 20, 50, or even 100+ applications can benefit greatly from this feature.
Creating a Working Set
To create a working set, launch the working set manager. Select "New Working Set...". We are now presented with a dialog with which we can build a new set. Notice how the dialog has been populated with all of the applications in the workspace. The first thing to do is enter a name. Next, check the box next to every application that you would like to be a member of this set.
Click "Select All" if you would like every application to be added, or "Deselect All" if you would like to clear all selections. Once you're finished, press "OK." You will now see your working set in the selection list.
Displaying a Working Set
There are a couple ways to display a working set. One way is to launch the working set manager and check the box next to the working set(s) you would like to display.
Press "OK." The applications in the selected working set are displayed in the navigator. By displaying a working set, you are essentially filtering every application out of the navigator that is not a part of that set.
Here's an example of displaying multiple working sets. Let's create another set and add an application to it. I'll check the box next to an application that is not a part of the first working set to demonstrate what happens.
Press "OK" to save and close. Now check the box next to both working sets and press "OK."
Notice how the applications shown in the navigator are the union of the two selected working sets. Even if a given application is a member of two working sets that are displayed, that application will only show once in the navigator.
Hiding a Working Set
Hiding a working set is as simple as unchecking the box next to it in the working set manager. Launch the working set manager and uncheck the box next to one of the sets and press "OK." That set is no longer displayed in the navigator.
Editing a Working Set
To edit a working set, launch the working set manager. Select the working set you would like to edit and click the "Edit Working Set..." button. Note that "selection" in this case does not refer to checking the box, but rather, clicking directly on the text so that the item is highlighted.
The edit working set dialog is launched. Notice how this dialog is very similar to the create working set dialog. The only difference is that the name field is filled in with the working set's name and the applications in the working set are checked. You may now make any changes you wish. Once finished, click "OK" to save them and close the dialog.
Deleting a Working Set
To delete a working set, launch the working set manager. Select the working set you would like to delete and click the "Remove Working Set" button. The working set is now deleted and removed from the list.
The Drop-Down Menu
The drop-down menu on the navigator toolbar (See section "Accessing the Working Set Manager") has a few features worth mentioning.
The first thing to notice is that we can quickly edit a working set from this menu. To do so, you must have only a single working set displayed. Then, from the drop-down menu, select "Edit Working Set...". This brings up the edit working set dialog from which the set may be edited as normal.
The next thing we can see in this menu is "Deselect Working Sets." Selecting this option will hide all working sets, meaning every application in the workspace will be visible in the navigator.
Finally, throughout this article, we have created a couple working sets. We can see the names of these sets in a list at the bottom of the menu. The five most recently created or edited working sets are maintained in this list, and they can be displayed or hidden right from this menu. To display or hide a working set in this way, simply select it. A check mark will be shown next to the name if the working set is displayed.
Build Working Sets Menu
One other thing that we will briefly cover is the "Build Working Set" option. The name can be a bit misleading - rather than "building a working set," which could imply the actual creation of a new working set, this option refers to triggering a build on the applications within an existing set (for example, you wish to build all of the XPages inside all applications of a working set). This option is available on the main menu, under Project => Build Working Set. Note that in order for this feature to be enabled, Project => Build Automatically must be unchecked,
Click on "Select Working Set..." in the Build Working Set menu. In the dialog that appears, notice how our working sets created previously are shown in the list. These are the same sets, and can be edited or removed in the same way that the working set manager allows. New working sets can also be created from this dialog.
To build all of the applications in a working set, you must first select which ones you wish to build. From the three radio buttons at the top, select "Window Working Sets" if you wish to build all working sets that are currently visible in the navigator, select "No Working Sets" if you wish to do nothing (default), or select "Selected Working Sets" and, in the list below, check the box next to the working set (or sets) whose contents you wish to build. Once you've made your selection, press "OK." The applications in the selected working sets have now been built.
As mentioned above, you may perform other operations on your working sets from here. Editing and deleting are simple - select (highlight) the application you wish to edit / delete, and click the corresponding button located next to the list of applications. Creating a working set is a little different from the working set manager, however. Click the "New..." button. In the next dialog, you need to select the type of working set you wish to create. There are several types contributed by Eclipse, but to create a normal working set of applications, choose "Resource," and click "Next >". This next dialog is very similar to that of the working set manager. Enter a name, check the box next to the applications you wish to be in this set, and click "OK." The working set is created and appears in the list.
Working sets built this way will indeed appear in the working set manager that is accessed via the navigator toolbar, and edits / deletes will also stay in sync between the two menus. Note, however, that you cannot display or hide working sets via this menu.
Migrating from Bookmarks to Working Sets
With 8.5, there will not be support for automatically importing bookmarks from previous versions and converting them to working sets. It will be necessary for the user to rebuild these. Fortunately, by now the similarities between working sets and the bookmarks of old are probably very evident. Also, it will only be necessary to do this one time. Here are some tips for migrating from bookmarks to working sets:
- You can consider one working set to be equivalent to a folder - you can group applications together and display only those applications by showing that working set.
- With the removal of the bookmark bar, the interface is indeed a bit different. Remember that every operation can be performed from the working set manager.
- Remember that you can display multiple working sets at a time!
And of course, throughout this article you will find all of the information you need to successfully migrate to working sets.
The working sets feature is a very convenient tool for users. In this article, we have gone through the different ways to create and use working sets. We can see how they are easier to use, more dynamic, and more powerful than the bookmarks of past Designers. It is also very clear that this feature increases navigator usability and is a valuable asset in maintaining an organized workspace.