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Platform/How to Contribute

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; to follow all changes for Platform UI and IDE for bugs that an individual has not yet taken, watch as well.
  • 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.

Bug triage

If you are interested to help with bug solving, the Eclipse platform project has a huge backlog of existing bug reports. It is often not possible for the committer to re-test all old bug reports. A contributor can re-test bug reports and report if they are already solved. If you want to help in this area, please send a message to the platform.ui mailing list. We can nominate you to give you rights to close bugs via the process described Platform Bug triage process.

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.

Platform UI is using Git as version control system.

Setting up your SDK

First you need to set up your environment. You need to:

  1. Get an Eclipse SDK
  2. Install the tools we use during development
  3. Get the code for Platform UI
  4. Use the correct target platform

Our current branches:

  • master - development towards Mars/4.5
  • R4_4_maintenance - fixes for 4.4.x/Luna service releases
  • R4_3_maintenance - fixes for 4.3.x/Kepler service releases
  • R4_2_maintenance - fixes for 4.2.x/Juno service releases
  • R3_8_maintenance - fixes for 3.8.x/Juno service releases

Get an Eclipse SDK

Your best bet is to download the appropriate version (a Luna I-build or Kepler M-build) from

Install the development tools

The Eclipse SDK development requires that certain plug-ins are installed in your IDE. The Eclipse platform team provides a file from which these plug-ins can be installed. Download the following file onto your computer:

You can install the plug-ins described by this file by using File>Import...>Install>Install Software Items from File.

In case you plan to work on Luna SR1, use the version from the R4_4_maintenance branch in Git.

Get the code for Platform UI

Please note that the user id of your host will be used as gerrit user id to connect to eclipse servers. If they are not matching you have three solutions:

When using ssh, you also need to upload your ssh key if not already done. See Gerrit over SSH for more information. When using https with Gerrit, you'll need to set your https password in Gerrit. See Gerrit over HTTPS.

Tweaks for after your environment is set up

API Baseline Errors: For developing on Mars, you can either unzip a version of Luna (4.4) and use that install as the API baseline or go to Preferences>Plug-in Development>API Baseline and set the missing API baseline to Ignore. Committers and regular contributors must set their API baseline.

Build Path problems: if you have build path problems for org.eclipse.core.expressions* you need to go to Preferences>Java>Installed JREs and add the missing JREs. This usually involves getting an install for 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, and 1.7.

Running the tests: you should be able to run a couple of pre-filled launch configs from Run>Run Configurations. on linux: The launch configs often come with DISPLAY=:1.0. You should either run a vnc server or remove that variable from the environment tab. An example of a $HOME/.vnc/xstartup that works for the Platform UI tests is:


# Uncomment the following two lines for normal desktop:
# exec /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc

[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup
[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
xsetroot -solid grey
#vncconfig -iconic &
xterm -geometry 80x24+10+10 -sb -sl 5000 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" &
#gnome-session --sm-disable --failsafe --disable-sound &

exec metacity --replace --sm-disable

Pushing a Gerrit commit: Make sure you use the signed-of-by and change-id buttons before you create your commit. If you haven't, just amend your commit and add them. Then you can push a commit for review by switching to the Git Repositories view, right-clicking on the repo, and selecting Push to Gerrit.... You want to enter the branch you are pushing to, for example refs/for/master. That will create a Gerrit review, and the review URL will be in the dialog that contains the status. The git command line equivalent would be:

git push origin HEAD:refs/for/master

More information about getting the code into your workspace

See Platform-releng/Git_Workflows#Gerrit_workflow_for_a_committer and Gerrit#Doing Code Reviews with Gerrit. Even if you are a contributor, the workflows should give you an idea of how to get set up.

Our code is now contained in the git repo at


The Dependency Injection and runtime Eclipse Context code is in


Note: we also maintain some E4-specific tools, hosted in the e4 incubator at (supports Gerrit):


And we support User Assistance (Help) contributions at:


Creating a Gerrit review or a patch

Once a Gerrit change set is created, the change set should be posted on the bugzilla it came from so it can be reviewed.

The preferred method of contributions is now Gerrit. See Contributing to Eclipse via Gerrit for a detailed description.

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 Development Conventions and Guidelines.
  • Every file must contain a copyright header, as described in Development Conventions and Guidelines. 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. If the top "Copyright (c)" line does not contain the current year, update it by changing the second year to be the current year or by adding a comma and the current year after the initial year.

For instance:

* Copyright (c) 2008, 2014 IBM Corporation and others.
* All rights reserved. This program and the accompanying materials
* are made available under the terms of the Eclipse Public License v1.0
* which accompanies this distribution, and is available at
* Contributors:
*     IBM Corporation - initial API and implementation
*     John Doe <> - Bug 429728 - Short description
  • 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).
  • It is considered good practice to write code that does not have warnings. If possible, fix warnings existing whenever you see them.
  • Non-externalized strings are considered errors, do not ship non-externalized strings or use the NON-NLS tag to indicate that you are not relevant for translation
  • Use unix line delimiters (In Eclipse select Window-> Properties -> Workspace and set the file delimiter to Unix
  • Avoid adding trailing whitespace. You can use the save actions in Eclipse to auto-remove them, via the Preferences -> Java -> Editor -> Save Actions. Activate them and as additional action select Configure and select "Remove trailing whitespace"
  • 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.
  • Use the following format for your commit message:

Bug XXXX - bug title
Short description of what the fix contains, or the direction of the fix
Signed-off-by: email-with-CLA

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.


The forum Eclipse platform forum (newsgroup) is used to asked and answer questions. If you know the answer to a query it would be great if you would respond to it. Also the Eclipse 4 forum is meant for pure Eclipse 4 (non 3.x) related questions.


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.


Many Platform UI committers hang out on IRC, on both #eclipse-dev and #eclipse-e4. Feel free to ask questions there, or join into development discussions.


The team has bi-weekly phone calls for development discussions and planning. Anyone is welcome to join in. For call in details and minutes see E4/Meeting_Minutes.

Copyright © Eclipse Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved.