Eclipse e4 New look and feel – A round the tab world

Eclipse e4 M4 has introduce a new look and feel for the tabs in the workbench. See Eclipse e4 M4 New and Noteworthy. Unfortunately the news and noteworthy document did not give information how to enable this feature.

The e4 mailing list has recently discussed this topic and Remy Suen was kind enough to provide this information. To turn this feature on you have to add the tag “newtablook” to your PartStack.

For example if you create an new e4 application with the e4 wizard you can add this tag via:

<children xsi:type="application:PartSashContainer" xmi:id="_vTa8kiuFEd-PeMLywHTM-g" id="_vTa8kiuFEd-PeMLywHTM-g">
  <children xsi:type="application:PartStack" xmi:id="_vTa8kyuFEd-PeMLywHTM-g" id="_vTa8kyuFEd-PeMLywHTM-g">
   <children xsi:type="application:Part" xmi:id="_vTa8lCuFEd-PeMLywHTM-g" id="_vTa8lCuFEd-PeMLywHTM-g" label="Main"/>

This lead to the following result:

Compared to the “old” look and feel.

For this topic see also Bug 305147 which discusses to move this feature to the CSS styling capabilities.

About Lars Vogel

Lars Vogel is the founder and CEO of the vogella GmbH and works as Eclipse and Android consultant, trainer and book author. He is a regular speaker at international conferences, He is the primary author of With more than one million visitors per month this website is one of the central sources for Java, Eclipse and Android programming information.
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12 Responses to Eclipse e4 New look and feel – A round the tab world

  1. Min says:

    I really don’t like the new look. It looks too child-like and wastes a lot of space. I think the look can be spruced up a bit, but this looks like a step in the wrong direction.

  2. Max says:

    Nice, but im curious – does e4 really encourage such horrible automatic generated ID’s in the xml ? Shouldn’t these be human readable for reuse ?

  3. Jörg says:

    Lars, thanks for finding out and sharing!

    These xmi id’s look horrible, though. 😉

  4. The xmi ids need to be globally unique and they are generated. You are however welcome to modify the regular ids as you please.

  5. Hi Lars,
    thanks for the info, i hope everything will be 100% css-styleable, because these childish rounded corners look 0% Enterprise-Platform compatible.
    I hear my boss calling his .Net consultants if he would see this 🙁

  6. Miles Parker says:

    I like the idea of the rounded looks much better in this example:

    Of course it has to be selectable, but the current Eclipse L&F is way too busy looking for a lot of usages. Sure, we’re programmers so we like to fit as much stuff in as tiny a space as possible. But remember that not all app users are enterprise users — I’d love to be able to put out an app that looks cleaner and I’d be willing to sacrifice some white space to get it. And btw, its not all zero sum — note in the example above that the forms are actually much tighter than the default Eclipse forms. If you add a bit of space in some areas you can pack more detailed information down and people will still feel less overload.

    re: the XMI IDs and global uniqueness. Really? Why do they *have* to be this way? I think there has to be a really good reason to use GUIDs. Isn’t there some sort of namespace that would work here?

  7. Lars Vogel says:

    @Min and @Mario: you can decide to use the round corner via the described setting. This will be most likely be ported to CSS.

  8. Tom Schindl says:

    I’ve just send a IMHO improved ID-Proposal to e4-dev. My proposal is to at least prefix the ID with the element type.

  9. Miles: The xmi ids needs to at least be unique within the EMF resource. This is in place for the purpose of merging models. Currently I just invoke EcoreUtil.generateUUID() and take the string from that. I welcome alternate implementations of generating an identifier that is more sane.

  10. Ivan says:

    Agreed on the look of it – looks a little bubbly for the usual eclipse apps which are known for looking trim and effective.

    If anything UI’s are getting even more minimal these days as we’re bombarded by way too much data and apps open at one time. I’m thinking Chromes ultra-sleek/tiny look especially is a sign of the times.

    When I think of Apps that use every last little bit of space I think of trading platforms. Take a look at screenshots of ThinkorSwim for example. Large rounded corners are a major nono and if anything, falling to the wayside as a Web 2.0 relic.

  11. Miles Parker says:

    Hi Remy,

    Assuming that all of the elements have some kind of unique for container ID (they would pretty much have to), then you could simply do an id reference path, like so (just an example as I don’t have the actual XMI) myreference=”//@views[ID=’view2′]/@root/@menu[ID=’createMenu’]”. Let me know if I can provide more details about the (probably imperfect) implementation in AMP.

    The really not so great thing about UUIDs beyond readability is that if anything happens to muck up the references suddenly you have no way at all of reconstructing the structure.

    The really nice thing about using paths is that you can understand structure even if oyu only have a text editor.



  12. Miles, please review the discussion that was had on e4-dev and respond on the list with more details if you believe your solution can work.

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