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Platform/How to Contribute

< Platform
Revision as of 01:44, 20 May 2011 by (Talk | contribs) (Reverted my previous changes. Wrong How to contribute page)

This page is a starting point for where to begin when wanting to contribute to the project. The goal is to educate and to be as up front as possible with expectations so that the process can be as efficient as possible.


If you find a bug, log it. See the FAQ entry "How to Report a Bug", and a description of how a great bug report looks like. If you find a bug that you think is a duplicate, is not a bug, etc. feel free to comment saying so.

If wanting to track bug changes in Platform UI there are a few ways:

  • Via email. If you want to receive email when a bug is logged you can watch the "" user. You will receive email anytime a new bug is logged to this user or an update is made while assigned to this user. To set this up see Preferences -> Email Preferences -> User Watching. This will email you for all incoming Platform UI bugs; you can employ the same technique for watching incoming IDE bugs, the Bugzilla user for that is called "". Depending upon your needs this might and might not be what you're looking for.
  • Via Atom. You can convert any query in bugzilla to a feed that will update when a matched bug changes. To convert a search to a feed perform a search and select "Feed" at the bottom of the search results.

Contributing Code

Whether you're wanting to fix a typo in javadoc or to implement the next whiz bang feature for Platform UI you'll need to know a few things before you contribute code.

Checking out the Plug-ins

There are three kinds of plug-ins, the actual code, test plug-ins, and example plug-ins. Using the CVS Repository at, they are listed under HEAD/platform-ui, HEAD/platform-ui-examples, and HEAD/platform-ui-tests.

We recommend using a recent integration build from the Eclipse Project download page to avoid compile errors due to older versions of SWT or one of the runtime bundles that we depend upon.

To check out everything from within Eclipse, do the following:

  1. Type Ctrl+3 followed by 'npfc' to narrow down to "New Projects from CVS".
  2. Hit Enter to open the wizard dialog, then select "Create new repository location", and click Next.
  3. Copy the following string without the quotes into the "Host" field: "".
  4. Click Next, select "Use existing module", scroll all the way down and multi-select platform-ui, platform-ui-examples, and platform-ui-tests.
  5. Click Finish to import all of our plug-ins into your workspace. A dialog asking to replace "org.eclipse.jface.databinding.examples" is expected (it appears in the tests and the examples module), just click "Yes" or "No", it doesn't really matter.

New in 3.6:If you know the plugins you are working with, you can use File > Import... >Plug-in Development>Plug-ins and fragments wizard to import plugins directly from the repository. See Plug-in Import.

To check out individual parts such as only data binding, or JFace, use Project Set Files. You can import the file into Eclipse via Ctrl+3, 'tpsi'. This will check out the necessary projects into your workspace. We provide Project Sets for committers and contributors and for HEAD and maintenance branches. Please file a bug if you would like to have other kinds of project set files added to that page.

Creating a Patch

To contribute a patch, open the Synchronize view, and set it up to synchronize your complete workspace with the CVS repository. Double-check your changes by looking at them using the compare editor (double-click on changed files in the Synchronize view). The changes should be minimal and without extraneous whitespace changes. Select the changed files and create a patch using the "Create Patch..." wizard from the context menu. Save the patch to a file called patch-<bugid>.txt and use the default settings (diff output format: unified, patch root: workspace). Then, attach this file to the bug. Added bonus points for also providing unit tests, which should be put into the same patch file - see the next section on unit tests.

Unit Testing

Testing is imperative to the health of the project. We have a significant amount of tests. The quantity of tests will keep growing as more functionality is added to Platform UI. If you are contributing a fix or writing an enhancement, it is a requirement that tests are written. If you don't write them a committer will have to and that could slow down the contribution process.

There are a couple of things that you should know about our testing process:

  • The most tests are included in org.eclipse.ui.tests, but you will need the other test plug-ins as well to avoid missing dependencies.
  • If looking for tests for a specific class look for a class named {THECLASS} (e.g. ->
  • To run tests, open the Run Configurations dialog (Ctrl+3, 'run...') and expand the "JUnit Plug-in Test" category to see the launch configurations we use to run the tests.
  • If you create a new TestCase make sure to add it to the correct test suite. The test suite class can be found by looking at the launch configuration on the "Test" tab under "Test class". For example, the test suite for JFace is called org.eclipse.jface.tests.AllTests; the main UI test suite is org.eclipse.ui.tests.UiTestSuite.
  • If you want to make a good impression, write tests. This goes for any project, of course.

Coding Conventions

  • Follow the Eclipse Platform's Standards, Conventions and Guidelines.
  • UI will need you to use project-specific settings for compiler warnings/errors, code formatting etc. that are copied from the other UI plug-ins' settings.
  • Use "organize imports" (Ctrl-Shift-O) to clean up the imports (we do not use org.eclipse.* type notation).
  • Don't put CVS headers in the files (with revision information etc.)
  • The copyright header goes before the package declaration, starting in the very first line. For new files, list yourself "and others" instead of "IBM and others" in the first line. For changed files, add a contribution comment in the copyright header with your name and affiliation, and a bug id.
  • It is considered good practice to write code that does not have warnings. If possible, fix warnings existing whenever you see them, they can crop up due to compiler changes occassionally.
  • Non-externalized strings are considered errors, do not ship non-externalized strings.
  • Write/update Javadoc for all API you introduce/change. See Evolving Java-based APIs by Jim des Rivières to understand what it means to maintain an API.

Before You Check In

  • Commit comments are required for all code commits, bugs should be logged to track work and the bug number and a description is then used in the commit comment to describe the change. For example when fixing a bug, use exactly: "Fixed bug xxx: <title of bug>". The "bug xxxx" part is really important as this is what is used to relate the bugs to the build submissions, so it must be formatted exactly that way (uppercase or lowercase bug should work).
  • Before committing changes, catch up to all changes made by others, and then run the tests.
  • Don't commit your changes if this will cause compile errors for others.

The Build

The Eclipse build is a bit of a mystery to newcomers. But rest assured that if you break something everyone will know about it and we will laugh at you (not really but we might tease you, or send you a clown nose if it was really bad). If you do one thing it should be to sign up for the platform-releng-dev mailing list. You'll receive emails when builds complete and when build and test failures occur. It's always good to pay extra special attention on the mornings after you make a commit or someone makes a commit on your behalf. The normal reaction to "breaking the build" is to log a bug, notify the platform-releng-dev list about it so that others can gauge the quality of the build, and then fix the bug.


We try to be prompt and responsive on the newsgroup but there's always room for improvement. If you know the answer to a query feel free to respond.


The wiki is open and can be edited by all. If you find a typo, a broken link, or anything that you view as a small issue feel free to fix it. If wanting to contribute a significant amount of information or create a new article we request that you log a bug so that we're aware of what you're contributing. This is so that we can ensure consistency structurally and in the message conveyed.

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