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E4/UI/Modeled UI

< E4‎ | UI
Revision as of 05:08, 21 June 2010 by (Talk | contribs) (Window)


An e4 application is completely backed up by a domain model often called Workbench or Application Model but in contrast to e.g. the browser DOM which only holds visual elements the e4 application model also holds other informations relevant to an e4 application (e.g. commands, handlers, ...). This makes the e4 application model the center of each e4 application.

From a technical point of view the e4 application model is defined using EMFs Ecore meta model. For an average user the usage of EMF in the background is completely transparent and you don't need to know about EMF to write an develop e4 applications (you won't even notice that you are using EMF because the API presented to you is not holding EMF-Types). For people who'd like to extend the workbench model a certain knowlegde about EMF is certainly needed.

UI Model

As outlined before the application model holds the main UI structure of an e4 application. When we talk about the main UI structure this means everything part of the Application Window (Menus, PartStacks, ...) and e.g. Part menus but not the UI shown inside an application Part (e.g. the Tree in the PackageExplorer)

The following screenshot displays the domain model making up the ui on the left and the rendered application Modeled app.jpg

One of the most important things when talking about the application model we need to know that ALL modification made in the model are immediately reflected in the UI. It is in contrast so that you are only programming against the application model and not against its visual representation. This now is indeed similar to how you are implementing Browser-Applications where also modify the DOM and the browser updates the visual representation.

The ui-domain objects are organized in 3 different packages:

  • menu: Holding menu and toolbar domain objects
  • basic: Basic UI domain objects e.g. to create windows, stacks, ...
  • advanced: Advanced UI domain objects e.g. to create perspectives

Basic UI Domain Objects

These domain objects are needed to write a simple to medium size e4 application providing you with the most common UI concepts like Window, Sash and Stack.


There are 2 domain types available to define a window in your application.

E4 model window.jpg


Represents a standard window used by application who are not in need of advanced stuff.


E4 model window inheritance.png


Class Feature Type Description
mainMenu Menu The main menu shown in the menubar of the Shell
x int The x position on the screen
width int The width of the window
height int The height of the window
windows List<Window> Child Windows
sharedElements List<UIElement>
bindingContexts List<String> Keybinding contexts active in this window
context IEclipseContext The IEclipseContext used by the DI-Framework for injection
variables List<String> Variables defined in this context (see IEclipseContext description)
children List<MWindowElement> Child elements layouted in the windows content pane
selectedElement MWindowElement The currently active childcontrol
widget Object the real UI-Control (e.g. SWT-Widget) rendering the element
renderer Object The renderer resposible to create the UI-Control and sync it with the elements attribute
toBeRendered boolean
onTop boolean
visible boolean
parent MElementContainer<MUIElement> The parent container
containerData String
curSharedRef MPlaceholder
visibleWhen MExpression
elementId String id to identify the element e.g. when contributing
tags List<String> Arbitary strings used to tag elements so that one can query for them
handlers List<MHandler> list of handlers
label String The label displayed on the window
iconURI String The icon displayed on the window
tooltip String

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