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PDE/User Guide

Getting Started

PDE Overview

The Plug-in Development Environment (PDE) provides tools to create, develop, test, debug, build and deploy Eclipse plug-ins, fragments, features, update sites and RCP products.

PDE also provides comprehensive OSGi tooling, which makes it an ideal environment for component programming, not just Eclipse plug-in development.

PDE is broken into three main components:

  • [#ui UI] - A rich set of models, tools and editors to develop plug-ins and OSGi bundles
  • [#api API Tooling] - Tooling to assist API documentation and maintenence
  • [#build Build] - Ant based tools and scripts to automate build processes

Discover the latest features in the What's New section.


PDE UI provides a editors, wizards, launchers, views and other tools to create a full featured environment to develop and deploy Eclipse plug-ins, fragments, features, update sites, RCP products and OSGi bundles.

Some of the PDE tools include:

  • Form-Based Manifest Editors: Multi-page editors that centrally manage all manifest files of a plug-in or feature.
  • RCP Tools: Wizards and a form-based editor that allow you to define, brand, test and export products to multiple platforms.
  • 'New Project Creation Wizards: Create a new plug-in, fragment, feature, feature patch and update sites.
  • Import Wizards: Import plug-ins and features from the file system.
  • Export Wizards: Wizards that build, package and export plug-ins, fragments and products with a single click.
  • Launchers: Test and debug Eclipse applications and OSGi bundles.
  • Views: PDE provides views that help plug-in developers inspect different aspects of their development environment.
  • Miscellaneous Tools: Wizards to externalize and clean up manifest files.
  • Conversion Tools: Wizard to convert a plain Java project or plain JARs into a plug-in project.
  • Integration with JDT: Plug-in manifest files participate in Java search and refactoring.

To get started, try out the following cheat sheets:

  • [javascript:executeCommand("org.eclipse.ui.cheatsheets.openCheatSheet(cheatSheetId=org.eclipse.pde.helloworld)") Open plug-in cheat sheetCreating an Eclipse Plug-in]
  • [javascript:executeCommand("org.eclipse.ui.cheatsheets.openCheatSheet(cheatSheetId=org.eclipse.pde.rcpapp)") Open RCP cheat sheetCreating a Rich Client Application]

PDE API Tooling

PDE API Tooling assists in the documentation and maintenance of APIs provided by plug-ins and OSGi bundles.

Some of the features include:

  • Compatibility Analysis : Identify binary compatibility issues relative to a previous version of a plug-in.
  • API Restriction Tags : Javadoc tags are provided to explicitly define restrictions associated with types and members.
  • Version Number Validation: Identify invalid plug-in version numbers relative to a previous version of a plug-in.
  • Javadoc @since Tag Validation: Identify missing and invalid @since tags on types and members.
  • API Leak Analysis : Identify API types and methods that leak non-API types.
  • Quick Fixes : Quick fixes are provided to adjust plug-in versions and @since tags appropriately.

To get started, see the tasks:

  • [../../tasks/api_tooling_setup.htm Setting up API Tooling]
  • [../../tasks/api_tooling_baseline.htm Setting up a baseline]
  • [../../tasks/api_tooling_options.htm Changing options]
  • [../../tasks/api_tooling_create_filters.htm Creating filters]
  • [../../tasks/api_tooling_remove_filters.htm Removing filters]

PDE Build

PDE Build facilitates the automation of plug-in build processes. PDE Build produces Ant scripts based on development-time information provided by, for example, the plugin.xml and files. The generated Ant scripts, can fetch the relevant projects from a CVS repository, build jars, Javadoc, source zips, put everything together in a format ready to ship and send it out to a remote location (e.g., a local network or a downloads server).

To get started, see the following:

  • [../../tasks/pde_product_build.htm Automated building of RCP applications from product configurations]
  • [../../tasks/pde_feature_build.htm Automated building of features]
  • [../../tasks/pde_plugins_build.htm Automated building of plug-ins]
  • [../../tasks/pde_feature_generating_ant.htm Generating Ant scripts from PDE]
  • [../../tasks/pde_feature_generating_antcommandline.htm Generating Ant scripts from scripts]
  • [../../tasks/pde_p2_builds.htm Building p2 repositories and products.]
  • [../../reference/pde_builder_config.htm Builder Configuration Properties]
  • [../../reference/pde_feature_generating_build.htm Feature and Plug-in build properties]


New Project Creation Wizards

Plug-in Project

Plug-in Project Structure

Plug-in Content


Plug-in from existing JAR archive

Fragment Project

Feature Project

Feature Patch Project

Update Site Project

New File Creation Wizards

Import Wizards

Export Wizards

Task Wizards






PDE Build

PDE Build Advanced Topics

API Tooling

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