Help my wrists deal with Eclipse
March 6, 2008 3:02 AM   Subscribe

My hands hurt; is there an Eclipse IDE plugin that does text completion like NetBeans' ctrl-K or pressing escape in TextMate?

In my current job I have to use the Eclipse IDE for standardisation reasons. I previously used NetBeans and came to completely rely on the ctrl-K / ctrl-L shortcuts, which search the text before/ahead for words that match the word you're currently writing.

Example: I write
System.out.println("I am Nathanael van Bendensteck. Like all Bend

and then want a command that completes that "Bend" to "Bendensteck". Which is different from normal code completion. It doesn't understand about Java, but simply searches back through the text till it finds a matching token.

In NetBeans, this is ctrl-K, in TextMate it's the escape key. In Eclipse it doesn't exist. My wrists hurt, and since I don't know what the feature would be called, I can't search for an Eclipse plugin that provides it.

Do you know of such a thing? My wrists would be very grateful.
posted by Zarkonnen to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can add a spell checker and just add new words to the dictionary...

(a workaround in case such a thing doesn't exist)
posted by lucia__is__dada at 3:39 AM on March 6, 2008

Best answer: Does 'Alt + /' do what you want? You can always change the mapping.
posted by zemblamatic at 4:11 AM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, zemblamatic! That's the command I was looking for. Now to change the mapping to something that's a bit more accessible. Otherwise having to contort my hands to alt-/ will actually worsen the problem.
posted by Zarkonnen at 4:51 AM on March 6, 2008

No! Your wrists would be grateful if you stoped typing and rushed to a doctor. You will worsen your injury if you insist on typing through the pain.

You wouldn't ski on a bad knee, play tennis with a bad elbow, or play badminton with bad ankle. Those who do destroy their joint, often beyond repair. You are facing the same sort of risk.

Keyboard shortcuts are not the solution. You can try to increase your rate of conversion of keystroke to text, but that's not where the problem lies. You have to lower the total number of keystrokes to do during a day, down to zero at first then slowly back up.

If you fell over and got the bad rash, you would give it time to heal. First it would make a scab, then new tissue would form under it, and then scab would fall off. What you wouldn't do is rip the scab to play with the injury and mess with the dedicate repair process. No, you would respect your body. You would give it a month or two to heal.

You should take the same careful attitude with your wounded wrists, in double. Wrists, like other joints, heal very slowly. You're looking at four or five months with the help of a doctor.

Read the other askme posts on RSI, go see a doctor, and swear to never type through pain.
posted by gmarceau at 6:15 AM on March 6, 2008

Response by poster: gmarceau: Your advice is good, but what do I tell my employer? "I have this invisible condition that means I can't work."?

I did stop typing altogether for a few weeks originally, when it was bad two years ago. It stopped. Now it's back, but manageable.

Sorry if this sounds like I'm not appreciating your concern. I really do, but I don't know what I can actually do.
posted by Zarkonnen at 6:45 AM on March 6, 2008

My heart goes out to you. You are squeezed between your work requirements and your health. It's a bad place to be.

The first step is to go see a doctor. Ask him for a written release from work. The condition is not as intangible as you think. Your wrists are probably swelled up, your doctor will notice right away. Your hands are weaker than usual since your muscles are refusing to activate at full strength, to protect themselves. It is also possible that your nerves are losing their conductivity. With the help of a few tests, your doctor will be able to quantify your condition and pose a diagnosis with confidence.

For any other serious yet invisible condition, it wouldn't be like this. If you developed a cancer or had heart tremors you would immediately see a doctor and take time off work. RSI is a relatively new condition, brought about by the popularization of computers in the 90s. Our culture doesn't yet know how to support those affected.

You have to take time away from the keyboard. If you don't, you will damage your wrists up to your pain tolerance ratio, at which point your body will force you to stop. The higher your tolerance to pain the deeper in trouble you will be. It is easy to push your wrists beyond their ability to heal.

I know it is is tempting to keep typing until the next upcoming deadline has passed. But know that you are gambling with the possible loss of your hands and of your career. No deadline is worth this.

Your boss will be much more understanding than you expect. That has been true for everyone I know who developed wrist problems. Bosses were always understanding and accommodating. Just remember that it is against your boss interest's to push you to hurt yourself. The company would lose a good employee and open itself to liabilities.

Spend time peer coding or doing code reviews. Teach what you know. Study a new technology. Buy a copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking and document everyone's code -- Dragon is wonderful, I am dictating this message with it. The important thing is, once you are firm with your commitment to stop typing, you will find things to do.

Good luck.
posted by gmarceau at 9:02 AM on March 6, 2008

I highly recommend workrave to reduce RSI and eyestrain. It has worked wonders for me.
(recommend again, that is)
posted by kc8nod at 2:44 PM on March 6, 2008

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