Essential Eclipse Vocabulary
A few Eclipse-specific concepts require prior knowledge. In this section I've listed a few of those concepts along with explanations from my own experience.
For some reason the Eclipse Help section does have a definition for Workspace so here is mine. When you first open Eclipse you will be asked to pick a root directory for your workspace. By default any projects you create will be located there. So in a way a workspace can be defined by the projects created in it. The workspace stores a few other things among which are your preferences.
You can have multiple workspaces. To switch among them use File > Switch Workspace. How many workspaces you have iRs entirely up to you. A typical example of multiple workspaces is working on two different versions of the same project(s).
A view in Eclipse parlance is any window other than the Editor window. Views exist to fullfill a specific purpose such as to navigate files, display XML structure, show compilation errors, view program output, etc. You can examine the complete list of views under Window > Show View > Other.
Related is the concept of a "fast" view. The purpose of a fast view is to save space on the screen. When displayed a fast view will automatically hide itself as soon as you click outside of its boundaries or press Escape. One way to cycle through currently opened views is to keep pressing Ctrl+F7.
A perspective stands for a couple of different things. First, a perspective defines the initial layout you see including views and editors. Secondly, a perspective is meant to provide functionality aimed at accomplishing specific tasks.
For example the Java perspective provides a Java source editor with special features for editing Java source files. It also provides a number of views and shortcuts specific to Java programming. By contrast Java features and shortcuts are not available in the Resource Perspective, which is meant for editing text. Another example is the debugging perspective, which shares many features with the Java perspective but has a different layout and its own unique views (Variables, Breakpoints, Expressions, etc).
You can examine the complete list of perspectives under Window > Open Perspective > Other. To cycle through opened perspectives press Ctrl+F8 one or more times.
In Eclipse, resource is synonymous with file, folder, or project. One place where this is important is in searching files. To search for Java types you use Navigate > Open Type (or Ctrl+Shift+T). To search for files of any type including xml, html, and so on you use Navigate > Open Resource (or Ctrl+Shift+R).
When creating a new folder in Eclipse you simply enter its name and the folder appears in the project tree. Now suppose you could link the new folder to a physical location outside of the project root directory. This is what's called a Linked Resource - a folder with a logical name and a place in the project tree but with a physical name and a location somewhere outside of the project location. To see the actual physical location of any folder in Eclipse right-click the folder and view its properties.
One notable limitation on this is the Linked Resource must be a top level project folder. To rephrase more accurately: the parent of a Linked Resouce's logical folder must be the project itself.
A common use for Linked Resources is when setting up a shared output folder for several Java projects. In this case each project needs to specify an output location that is external to its project structure.