I have done much development in Java using Eclipse, and now I have started to use Visual Studio for .NET development. So far I find the IDEs to be able to do the same things, but just different.

What features in Eclipse isn't available in Visual Studio?


Eclipse has its Local History which is kind of like a super duper Undo. I am not aware of a similar feature in VS.


Eclipse Quick Access is an amazing usability feature, in my opinion.

Short version:

With Quick Access you can navigate to almost any part of the IDE using the keyboard. Yes, that can be done in Visual Studio also but you need to learn the shortcut to each view: Ctrl+Alt+J to go to the Object Browser; Ctrl+Alt+L for Solution Explorer, etc; or use generic window switching shortcuts (like Ctrl+F6 to go to next window one by one).

In Eclipse, you only need one shortcut: Ctrl+3 to open the Quick Access tool.

The Quick Access tool hat allows you to just start typing the name of any command, view, perspective, menu even source files! and it will auto-complete and suggest alternatives.

Quick Access:

  • Will remember abbreviations and your most frequent accessed items and progressively adapt to the way you use it.
  • Will also allow you type PascalCase abbreviations: You want to go to the Data Source Explorer view? type DSE and it will show up as the first option.
  • It will also show the keyboard shortcut for each item as a learning aid.

Read more:





Notice how Visual Studio remembers the layout of the IDE (open windows, positions, etc) that you used the last time the debugger was running? And how it switches between that and the "non debugging" IDE layout automatically.

Eclipse does the same with Perspectives. Only that you can fully customize them not only for debugging and not debugging, but you can create several layout with different IDE configurations and switch between them with a simple click.

  • Want to go to the debugging layout while not debugging?. Just click the on the Debugging Perspective toolbar button.

  • Want to invent a new layout with no editors and only the Package Explorer and the Javadoc view are visible? Move your windows as you want and save it as a new perspective.

It is a great way of switching your IDE appropriately when your mind is also switching from one kind of task to another.

Eclipse Help - Perspectives


I don't remember Visual Studio having something similar to Eclipse working sets.

Working sets - Help - Eclipse SDK

They are a way to group projects included in your 'solution' (workspace in Eclipse) in a way that allows you to hide or show different sets of projects according to the part of the code on which you want to work. For example, you could define a working set containing only the unit test projects, or only the data access layer related modules in your project.

It is useful to filter almost any Eclipse View to show only the stuff related to the currently selected working set. For example, the error list: you don't have to see all the errors in the workspace, only the ones related to the projects in the active working set.

The only way I imagine duplicating this functionality in Visual Studio is having a multiple solution approach, and opening and closing solutions manually.

  • And if only they could be exported to a different Eclipse - sigh... – user1249 Apr 2 '11 at 16:04
  • You can load/unload group of projects in visual studio using solution folders. Not same as working sets though. – softveda Feb 28 '12 at 8:48

I assume you refer to the out-of-the-box Eclipse vs. out-of-the-box VS (otherwise, there are always plugins that add extra features).

Missing from VS:

  • Ctrl+click on a method name to go its definition;
  • Auto brace complete (for C#) - but, to be honest, sometimes is annoying;
  • 1
    Navigation to method definition can be done with right mouse click -> Go To Definition. Not as fast, but the feature is there. – ysolik Oct 3 '10 at 15:03
  • Ugh, personally I tend to think that having the browser not automatically complete braces or tags for me is a feature. – rjzii Oct 3 '10 at 16:04
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    @ysolik The shortcut is F12 by default -- right next to the debug keys, very handy. I also use Shift+F12 a lot (Find all symbol references) – Note to self - think of a name Oct 3 '10 at 19:11
  • You can customise the auto-brace completion behaviour in Tools...Options – JBRWilkinson Oct 3 '10 at 20:21
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    The feature I am missing is the support for Ctrl + click, not Go to definition. I find it more convenient to do ctrl + click than pressing F12... – Victor Hurdugaci Oct 5 '10 at 9:03

You don't have anything like Maven available to you in visual Studio.

Maven is a complicated beast to master, but once you've got it working it is incredibly powerful - it basically takes away all the pain of build scripts and dependency management.

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