Ever have a troublesome file containing unprintable characters or other character encoding problems? Ever wonder if your line delimiter (EOL) is correct for your platform? Over the years I've seen many incarnations of such problems, hidden deeply within XML and other text files. Due to the nature of such characters, being unprintable and sometimes occupying 0 space, these problems can be hard to find and diagnose -- until now. I've created a tiny utility for Eclipse that provides a way to see the invisible: Text Inspection is a new project specifically designed to aid in looking at text in Eclipse.

Text Inspection does this by providing a view that displays the current workbench text selection, exposing unprintable characters as a Java String literal using unicode escape sequences where appropriate. All you have to do to see the text of interest is open your file in a text editor (any text editor will do) and select the area of interest.

The project also augments the Java source editor with a paste command alternative for pasting text as a Java string literal, escaping characters as needed. This can come in really handy when writing unit tests. My unit tests often compare output to an expected value, which is often copy/pasted from the console.

I invite you to try it out and provide feedback.