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ICE Build Instructions

This article assumes that you have already collected the ICE third-party dependencies and have them in your workspace or stored on your system. All third-party dependencies are required to build ICE from source, unlike the binary distribution of ICE. Additional dependencies may be required to use certain features of ICE.

Building ICE from scratch requires access to some "secret sauce" since it is still in incubation. It has both a dependency bundle and a set of data files used for the tests, which are run during the build, that are not publicly distributed. Unfortunately we cannot widely distribute these, but if you genuinely need to build ICE from source contact <at> for more information.

Building ICE will works out of the box with Eclipse Luna and greater, which comes with the EGit and M2E (Maven) plugins installed by default. You may have to install these plugins manually if you are using an older version of Eclipse. Alternatively, you can use ICE to develop ICE since it has all of the necessary plugins installed. (That is super meta, we know!)

Getting ICE from Git

The first step will be to check ICE out from the Git repository. The preferred way to do this is to use Eclipse and clone the Git repository. The Git repository is at Open the Git Repositories view ('Window > Show View > Other > Git > Repositories') and choose to clone a repository. Point the wizard to the ICE Git repository and hit Next. The ICE Git repo needs to be cloned into your workspace so that it can run its build properly. If your workspace is at $HOME/workspace, the repository should be cloned into $HOME/workspace/ice as shown in the second picture.

Be sure to check the box that says "Import all existing projects after clone is finished." This will automatically import all Eclipse ICE projects into your workspace and save you quite a bit of time and prevent you from having to learn how the repository is laid out.

ICEGithubConfig.png ICEGithubLocConfig.png

If you are using a vanilla version of Eclipse for development, all of the projects will show up in your project explorer and most of them will have red error boxes next to them. You will need to load the target platform by opening the project, opening the "" file, and clicking the "Set as target platform" button in the top right of the editor once the platform has resolved. Resolving the platform takes a very long time if you have never done it before, so watch the status bar in the bottom right to monitor its progress.

If you are using ICE to do ICE development, you do not need to resolve the target platform unless you need to make changes to it.

Building ICE Binaries using Maven

ICE is built using the Maven build system and Eclipse Tycho to create binaries for multiple platforms and architectures as well as executing the test plugins. The Maven build system can be launched by command line using the mvn command, if it is installed, or from within Eclipse using the m2e Eclipse plugin.

ICE is a big code, so properly building can take some time. It is broken into two steps, each roughly ten minutes in length. The first step is to build all of ICE's bundles and run its unit tests. The second test is to package the ICE binaries for distribution. This step requires approximately 6.3GB of storage space to build. The very first time you build ICE may take much longer because the build must download all of its dependencies, depending on your internet connection speed.

In practice, if you are doing development work and don't need to build the binaries, you can just build the bundles and run the tests. It is good practice to build the binaries and run them at least once a day to make sure your code works in the way the user will experience it.

The ICE Development Team builds ICE from both the command line and Eclipse: we build from inside Eclipse while we are developing and before we commit to make sure the tests work, and we use an automated Hudson build that runs hourly on our development server.

Inside Eclipse

In order to build ICE binaries from Eclipse, you must use the Eclipse plugin for Maven. Once the plugins are checked out from the repository, open the from the package explorer. If you do not see any packages in the package explorer you may not have checked the "Import all existing projects after clone is finished" box when cloning ICE. You can import the projects from the Git perspective by right-clicking on the ICE repository and selecting "Import Projects".

Build and Test the ICE Bundles

To build and test we need to create a custom run configuration. Right-click on the pom.xml file, scroll to 'Run As...' and select 'Run Configurations' at the bottom. In the menu that appears, select the 'Maven Build' option in the left-side menu and click the new button (a small button that looks like a blank piece of paper with a gold plus sign on it) at the top. A new configuration will be created. You need to set the name at the top of the page, choose the directory by clicking the "Browse Workspace" button and set the goal to -N install to properly launch the build. Click 'Apply' and then 'Run.'


This downloads and installs any required dependencies, and will probably take a while if this is your first time building ICE binaries. Once all dependencies are downloaded, the last step is to actually build ICE. To do this, right-click on the same pom.xml file in the directory, and select 'Run As > Maven install.' This will build and test all of ICE's bundles. If this is your first time, this process could take upwards of 10-12 minutes depending on your system. If the build system encounters any errors or failed tests, they will be reported in the Eclipse console window, and the build will be terminated early. Alternatively, if the build is successful, a "BUILD SUCCESS" message will be displayed in the console once the build completes, and the ICE binaries will have been created in your Eclipse workspace. If you experience any issues with the build send your error logs to ice-dev <at>

Build Binaries

Open the project. Right-click on the pom.xml file, and select 'Run As > Maven install.'

On the Command Line

We need to follow the same steps as listed above, but on the command line we must execute commands like mvn -N install.

Build and Test the ICE Bundles

Once Maven is installed, open a terminal window and change your current directory to ice/ within your ICE working copy. Next, execute the following two statements in order:

mvn -N install
mvn install 

The first command downloads and installs the required dependencies, which may take several minutes to complete, and it installs the ICE "parent" build configuration in your local Maven repository. The second command builds the ICE source and test bundles, executes the tests, and creates binaries if the tests pass. This may take a very long time if it is the first time you are building ICE, because Maven will download a lot of other plugins that it needs to build Eclipse RCP applications and to bootstrap itself. However, subsequent builds take about seven to twelve minutes on high-end and low-end systems respectively.

Build Binaries

Change your current directory to ice/repository/ within your ICE working copy. Next, execute the following command:

mvn install 

Locating the ICE Binaries

The ICE binaries are written to a subdirectory of the package called target/products. Note that the target directory may not appear in the Eclipse Package Explorer until the package has been refreshed. To refresh this package, right-click on the package and select 'Refresh' or highlight it and click 'F5.' To execute a binary, navigate to<os>/<windowing system>/<arch>/ICE and run the ICE executable.

The target/products directory contains a p2 repository; compressed (ZIP) files of ICE for 32- and 64-bit Linux, Mac, and Windows; and unzipped directories with the executables for each platform than can be immediately executed.

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