Saturday, November 1, 2003

Using the Fast View feature to be quicker on the draw


By Dan Velasco

WebSphere Studio offers you endless options for customizing the way that you work by enabling you to customize perspectives. You can re-arrange the size of windows, the order of tabs and even which views you choose to show and which you don't. One feature that you may have overlooked, however, is the Fast View feature. You'll either love it or hate it (although feel free to be indifferent), but you definitely need to know about it.

The Fast View feature is the ability to take any view and add an icon for it on the shortcut bar on the left. There are two ways to use this feature. The first is to just drag-and-drop the view on the shortcut bar by grabbing either its title bar or tab. The second, and I think the cleanest, is to just right-click on the title bar of the view and choose the "Fast View" option as shown in Figure A.


Choose the "Fast View" option (click for larger image)

Once you do this, the view will be removed from its current location and will only appear as an icon on the shortcut bar.

You can now click directly on the view's icon on the shortcut bar to open the view. Be sure to size the window how you would like it, since you don't have to worry about messing up any of the other panes in the perspective since a Fast View overlays all of them.

To hide the view, either click on the minimize button at the upper-right corner of the view or just click on the view shortcut icon again. I prefer the latter technique since it seems easier to remember exactly where to click. Be careful not to click the "X" close button, though, since that will close the view and it won't appear on either the shortcut bar or as a tab in any of the panes. If you accidentally close a view that you need, go to Window --> Show View and select the name of the view.

If you grow tired of having the view's shortcut icon on your shortcut bar, you can put it back where it was by right-clicking on it and choosing the Fast View option again to de-select it, which you can see in Figure B.


Choose the Fast View option again to de-select. (click for larger image)

Again, don't choose the close option since you'll have to reopen the view if you need it.

Once you get all of the Fast View shortcuts exactly like you want them, you can save your customized perspective by selecting Window --> Save Perspective As and giving the perspective a name. Note that this isn't required since WebSphere Studio saves your settings as you make them, but it is the only way to protect your settings in case the perspective is ever reset using Window --> Reset Perspective.