Developing Java software on a Mac: copy & paste

I recently got a new job and my new employer gave me the opportunity to chose a MacBook Pro as my development machine. I already had pretty good experiences with my iMac at home, so I didn’t have to think very long about this choice.

However, after years of developing Java software on Windows and Ubuntu boxes, I had to adapt some habits, reprogram my muscle memory and find some new tools. The good news is of course that nearly all Java software runs smoothly on a Mac. For the major Java IDEs, special Mac installers are available, doing a great job to integrate with the Mac OS X platform. After a few weeks of working on the Mac, I have also found some pretty nice additional tools that make the life of a (Java) software developer a lot easier. This is the first of a series of articles dedicated to (Java) software development on a Mac.

Copy and Paste

Although copy and paste programming is not a good practice in general, copying and pasting is still a popular habit for programmers. 😉 So I had a hard time reprogramming my muscle memory the first few days on the Mac. But now “copy” is remapped to ⌘C like it has never been different…

Anyway, I recently stumbled upon Jumpcut, an open source OS X utility that creates a clipboard stack. Every time you copy something, it is placed on the stack. And if you just use ⌘V (Cmd + V) to paste, the last thing copied is pasted at the cursor position. However, if you use ⌘⇧V (Cmd + Shift + V), you can browse through the clipboard stack with the cursor keys. That way it is e.g. possible to paste things from “three copies ago”. And if you’re mouse-centric, there’s also a nice little scissors icon in the menu bar, that reveals a list presentation of the clipboard stack when clicked.

All in all, Jumpcut has become an indispensible tool for me. Admitted, the idea is nothing new. On Windows there is the “Office Clipboard” that has roughly the same functionality. However, I didn’t use that one very often, back when I worked on Windows. I think I have used Jumpcut more often in the past few weeks than I have used the Office clipboard on Windows in all the years that I worked on that platform. Jumpcut does it’s job very elegantly and goes out of the way when you don’t use it. I really like this tool!

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