IDL 7.0 is officially released today. This introduces the IDL Workbench, a cross platform, Eclipse-based development environment. My favorite features so far:

  1. it works the same on Unix platforms!
  2. in the debug perspective, you can click on any level in the call stack and examine all the variables defined at that level
  3. the outline view (I just like seeing all the routines instead of selecting a routine from a droplist)
  4. content assist i.e. hitting a keyboard shortcut and the Workbench pops the possible choices for finishing your current command
  5. navigating to the definition of a routine by clicking on a call of the routine in the editor window
  6. having a lot of preferences

There are a few negatives as well:

  1. no GUI builder (okay, that’s really a positive too)
  2. no Workbench interface for conditional breakpoints (you have to use the BREAKPOINT routine)
  3. I don’t like the way the online help system works, but I’m willing to admit that could be personal preference

I’m going to try to write some short articles on how to use the Workbench since it is a completely new environment for IDL.