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The Official Eclipse FAQs

Revision as of 21:31, 16 March 2006 by Claffra (Talk | contribs)

The initial contents for these FAQ pages has come from The Offical Eclipse 3.0 FAQs written by John Arthorne and Chris Laffra.

Permission to publish the FAQ book contents here has been graciously offered by Addison-Wesley, publishers of the official Eclipse Series which wouldn't be possible without the great help from Greg Doench.

Part I -- The Eclipse Ecosystem

FAQ PartI.jpg

The Eclipse Community

Eclipse has taken the computing industry by storm. The download data for the Eclipse Software Development Kit (SDK) is astounding and a true ecosystem is forming around this new phenomenon. In this chapter we discuss what Eclipse is and who is involved in it and give you a glimpse of how large a community has put its weight behind this innovative technology.

An open source project would be nothing without a supporting community. The Eclipse ecosystem is a thriving one, with many research projects based on Eclipse, commercial products that ship on top of Eclipse, lively discussions in newsgroups and mailing lists, and a long list of articles and books that address the platform. The following pages will give you a roadmap of the community, so that you will feel more at home as you come to wander its winding streets.

Getting Started

Eclipse can be seen as a very advanced Java program. Running Eclipse may sound simple—simply run the included eclipse.exe or eclipse executable—yet in practice, you may want to tweak the inner workings of the platform. First, Eclipse does not come with a Java virtual machine (JVM), so you have to get one yourself. Note that Eclipse 3.0 needs a 1.4-compatible Java runtime environment (JRE).

To use Eclipse effectively, you will need to learn how to make Eclipse use a specific JRE. In addition, you may want to influence how much heap Eclipse may allocate, where it loads and saves its workspace from, and how you can add more plug-ins to your Eclipse installation.

This chapter should get you going. We also included some FAQs for plug-in developers who have already written plug-ins and want to get started with plug-in development for Eclipse 3.0.

Java Development in Eclipse

The topic of how to use Eclipse for typical Java development is beyond the scope of this FAQ list. We focus more on the issues Eclipse users may run into when developing new plug-ins for the platform. Also, as a plug-in developer, you need to be familiar with the ways in which Eclipse is used. To achieve seamless integration with the platform, your plug-in must respect common usage patterns and offer the same level of functionality that users of your plug-in have come to expect from the platform. This chapter focuses on user-level issues of interest to plug-in developers as users or as enablers for other users of the platform.

For a comprehensive guide to using Eclipse, refer to other books such as The Java Developer’s Guide to Eclipse (Addison-Wesley, 2003).

Plug-In Development Environment

This book is all about extending the Eclipse Platform. The main instrument for extending the platform is a plug-in. Plug-ins solidify certain crucial design criteria underlying Eclipse. Special tooling has been developed as part of Eclipse to support the development of plug-ins. This set of plug-ins is called the Plug-in Development Environment; or PDE. The PDE tools cover the entire lifecycle of plug-in development, from creating them using special wizards to editing them to building them to launching them to exporting and sharing them.

This chapter describes the mechanics of plug-in development, such as creating plug-ins, features, and update sites, and introduces the PDE tooling. We go into much more depth about what plug-ins are in later FAQs. If you want to jump ahead, we suggest that you first visit FAQ What is a plug-in?.

Part II -- The Rich Client Platform

FAQ PartII.jpg

All about Plug-ins

Runtime Facilities

Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT)


Generic Workbench

Perspectives and Views

Generic Editors

Actions, Commands, and Activities

Building Your Own Application

Productizing an Eclipse Offering

Part III -- The Eclipse IDE Platform

FAQ PartIII.jpg

Text Editors

Help, Search, and Compare

Workspace and Resources API

Workbench IDE

Implementing Support for Your Own Language

Java Development Tool API

Where to buy the book

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