How to use JBuilder to manage your "to do" items

JBuilder has a nice feature that I've started using lately to track "to do" items. These are the places in my Java projects where I know that I need to fix or change something, but I just don't have the time to do it at the moment. So, what I do is create a "todo" Javadoc tag that I can use as both a reminder and a management tool. Here's how it works:

Suppose I'm working on a piece of code, and I see that the solution I've implemented (or someone else has implemented) is just not up to par. I'd like to fix it, but I just don't have the time at the moment. What I do now is create a "todo" Javadoc tag in the code. The tag looks like this:

/** @todo I think this code can be cleaned up by doing X, Y, and Z ... */

As you can see the tag is in a very simple format, and all you have to do is add your text between the opening /** @todo tag, and the closing */ tag.

So, creating a tag is very simple, but what does JBuilder do for you? The answer is "two things". First, whenever you're editing a file that has todo tags in it, these tags will appear in the Structure Pane of the JBuilder browser. You can try this by putting the tag shown above in a source code file, then looking at the Structure Pane. By default you'll see a "To Do" folder at the top of the Structure Pane. If you open the folder you'll see all the comments associated with your todo tags in this source file. Double-clicking on a line here takes you right to the tag in your code.

The second thing JBuilder offers is a way to search for and list all the todo tags in all of your source code files. You do this by selecting the "View Todos" option of the Search menu. Select "Search | View Todos", and you should see a list of all your todo tags in all source files listed in JBuilder's Messages pane. If you are a big todo user, you'll see that this pane lets you further filter your search for specific comment keywords. For large projects this can be very valuable.

One note I'll add about this "Search | View Todos" feature: Some times when I search for my todo tags this way, the Message pane does not appear. I think this is related to the way I close the Messages pane some times. Regardless, whenever the "View Todos" option doesn't show the Messages pane, I just use the [Ctrl][Alt][M] keystroke to view  the Messages pane, and life is good again.

I hope this feature works for you as well as it has for me. As I strive to be more organized, this is one feature that actually helps. :)