Comment out xml file fragments in java IDE

It's easy to comment out and uncomment lines of Java code in any Java IDE, using shortcut keys like Ctrl-/ (in Eclipse), or Ctrl-Shift-T (in NetBeans). But I haven't found such features for XML commenting. I have to always manually add <!-- and --> even when editing those XML files inside Eclipse or NetBeans.

Why is it missing in major Java IDEs? Nowadays almost all Java projects have some XML files, like ant build files, deployment descriptors, etc. And both NetBeans and Eclipse have nice XML editing features, including syntax highlighting, element and attribute auto-completion, and element tree view. All these seem to suggest Java IDEs are serious in supporting XML development. One would think commenting/uncommenting is one of the basic requirements. Why can't I select some lines, press Ctrl-/ or Ctrl-Shift-T to comment out them?

Maybe one reason is that XML doesn't allow nested comments. So if my selection already contains XML comments, I can't add an outer comment. But even in this case, the IDE can either issue a waring, or add 2 smaller comments, one before the existing comment and the other after.


Anonymous said...

IDEA comments/uncomments XML for you with CTRL-/ (toggle line-by-line comments) and CTRL-SHIFT-/ (toggle block comments). In fact ANY file type can have associated line and block comment markers that will be applied appropriately whenever CTRL-/ or CTRL-SHIFT-/ is pressed. I often edit Python, SQL and C++ in IDEA so this is very useful.

With nested comments, the quickest way to deal with them is to select the whole area you want to comment (eg with the fantastic CTRL-W) then press CTRL-SHIFT-/ twice. The first strips existing comments, the second press will block comment the whole area. You do lose the original comment region with this approach though.

Pete Carapetyan said...

With the WTP plugins installed, using the xml editor they provide, Eclipse does this easily and I use all the time.

It's the only thing I use the WTP plugin for, actually, but that's more about my lack of skills than the plugin.

gaferoz said...

Perhaps you haven't tried selecting the block of lines and them clicking the right button, then 'Source' and then 'Add Block Comment'...

Mihai Rus said...

Eclipse IDE CTRL + SHIFT + C - toggle comments in xml files

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