When reporting a bug helps to improve Eclipse.

23.10.2015, Jérémie Bresson



When he writes about Automated Error Reporting Marcel Bruch uses this tagline "Because you can't fix what you don't know is broken".  I can only support this message and reporting broken stuff is more rewarding than just ranting too.

A good Bug in Bugzilla that is not a duplicate, includes good description, examples and steps to reproduce typically adds a lot of value for the project. Such bugs substantially reduce the effort for the project committer to come up with a fix. This makes it more tempting to actually fix the bug which in turn improves the experience for all Eclipse users.

To illustrate this mechanism I would like to share a small story about a recent JDT bug. It started as a discussion on our private company communication platform. In our Scout application we have a lot of inner-classes. When we try to open one of this inner-class with CTRL+Shift+T

The read only Editor opens the correct file but does not jump at the correct location.

Everybody in our company has encountered this bug… This is just annoying, because we are used to scroll to the desired location. The mood of our internal discussion thread was something like "Good point, thank you for asking"; "Yes it is broken, a lot of coworkers know about it"; "We have googled for a solution, no result so far"; "It works for first level inner-classes but not for inner-classes in inner-classes". Later we figured out that nobody has ever reported it in Bugzilla. We started working on a small example to reproduce the problem. Finally my coworker opened Bug 476304.

Only one week later the bug was confirmed and a patch was proposed by a JDT commiter…

With the Neon M2, the Editor works as expected:

What are the lessons here?

  1. Stop ranting
  2. Open good bugs – or – amend existing bugs with better information

Investing time for high quality bugs pays off. If you need to convince your manager, feel free to cite our small example: In our case the return on investment was very high (we have invested few hours and we got a solution for a problem that annoys the wide majority of our coworkers).

If you ask me, this is nothing more than being engaged in a great open-source project. And having many engaged users is what makes Eclipse a great IDE.

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