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Tycho/Target Platform

< Tycho
Revision as of 10:00, 28 August 2015 by (Talk | contribs) (Which approach should I use for the target platform for my project?)

The target platform is the set of artifacts from which Tycho resolves the project's dependencies.

Background: OSGi allows to specify dependencies with version ranges and package dependencies (Import-Package). These dependencies (intentionally) do not map to unique artifacts. In order to pick a set of concrete bundles to be used for compilation, test execution, and assembly, Tycho needs a set of candidate artifacts which may be used to match the dependencies. This list of candidate artifacts is called the "target platform". The process of selecting artifacts from the target platform according to the project's dependencies is called "dependency resolution".

There are different ways to define the content of the target platform; the most common ones are repositories with layout=p2 in the POM, which add entire p2 repositories to the target platform, or target definition files for more fine-grained control.

Which approach should I use for the target platform for my project?

Since there are a few different ways to configure a target platform in Tycho, here are some rules of thumb for the most common cases:

  1. If you are already using a target file in Eclipse, and that target file only contains "Software Site" locations (i.e. location elements with type="InstallableUnit"), use that target file for the Tycho build. This approach is the only way to share the same target platform configuration between Tycho and Eclipse.
  2. If you don't care about individual bundles and versions, just configure the needed p2 repositories in the POM and have Tycho pick anything required from these repositories.
  3. If you want control over the which bundles/bundle versions are visible to the build, use a target file.

Note this tip from : The Target file "approach is much faster, because the target platform resolution is performed only once, while the repository look-ups have to be done for every module. Using the target platform will drastically reduce the build time, especially in bigger projects with a lot of modules."

Target platform configuration

The target platform is defined through POM configuration (see details below). Each module has its own target platform, although with the normal configuration inheritance in Maven, the target platform configurations are usually the same across multiple modules.

Simple target platform configuration

In order allow Tycho to resolve the project dependencies against anything from a specific p2 repository, add that repository in the <repositories> section of the POM. Example:


In terms of the target platform, this means that the entire content of the p2 repositories specified in this way become part of the target platform.

Background: In a normal (i.e. non-Tycho) Maven project, one can configure Maven repositories which can be used by Maven to resolve the project dependencies. While Maven repositories cannot be used directly (see below for an indirect approach), Tycho can use p2 repositories for resolving OSGi dependencies. The p2 repositories need to be marked with layout=p2. (The normal Maven dependency resolution ignores repositories with layout=p2.)

Target files

The PDE target definition file format (*.target) allows to select a subset of units (bundles, features, etc.) from one or more p2 repositories. In order to add the content of a target definition file (see "Content" tab of the Target Editor) to the target platform in the Tycho build, place the target file in a eclipse-target-definition module and configure it in the target-platform-configuration build plugin. Example:


Since Tycho 0.17.0, it is also possible to configure multiple target files by specifying more than one <artifact> reference. Tycho interprets these target files independently and in the same way as in Eclipse: Each of the configured target files need to resolve successfully when opened in the Eclipse Target Editor. Note that the use of this Tycho feature is limited because the Eclipse PDE currently does not support activating more than one target file at once (see bug 392652).

Note: Tycho's interpretation of the target definition file format differs from the PDE in the following aspects:

  • The location types "Directory", "Installation", and "Features" are not supported.
  • The selection on the Content tab of the Target Editor is ignored. See below for an alternative way to remove individual bundles from the target platform.
  • The option "Include source if available" is by default ignored. To make Tycho take the value of that flag into account, set the target-platform-configuration parameter targetDefinitionIncludeSource to honor (since Tycho 0.22.0).

Related Information

"POM dependencies consider"

OSGi bundles from Maven repositories can be added to the target platform in the following way:

  1. Specify a dependency to the OSGi bundle artifact in the POM's <dependencies> section.
  2. Set the configuration parameter pomDependencies=consider on the target-platform-configuration plugin

This configuration has the following effect:

  • First, Maven resolves the GAV dependencies according to the normal Maven rules. This results in a list of artifacts consisting of the specified artifacts and their transitive Maven dependencies.
  • Tycho then checks each of these artifacts, and if the artifact is an OSGi bundle, it is added to the target platform. Other artifacts are ignored. OSGi bundles which become part of the target platform in this way are then available to resolve the project's OSGi dependencies.

For an example, see the POM of this demo project.

Note: Tycho always attempts to resolve transitive dependencies, so if you need a POM dependency in the target platform of one module, you will also need it in all downstream modules. Therefore the POM dependencies (and the pomDependencies=consider configuration) typically need to be added in the parent POM.

Effective content of the target platform

In case multiple target platform configuration approaches are combined, the target platform contains the union of the content defined through each approach.

Apart from the explicitly configured content, the target platform also contains the following artifacts:

  • Other artifacts from the same reactor
  • Locally built artifacts in the local Maven repository

Finally, it is possible to remove artifacts again from the target platform through a filtering syntax.

Locally built artifacts

Just like in a normal Maven build, a Tycho build can use artifacts that have been built locally and installed (e.g. with mvn clean install) into the local Maven repository. In terms of the target platform, this means that these artifacts are implicitly added to the target platform. This is for example useful if you want to rebuild a part of a Tycho reactor, or if you want to build against a locally built, newer version of an upstream project.

There are the following options to disable this feature:

  • Setting the CLI option -Dtycho.localArtifacts=ignore excludes locally built artifacts in one build. (tycho.localArtifacts=ignore may also be configured in the settings.xml; in this case, the default behaviour can be temporarily re-enabled with the CLI option -Dtycho.localArtifacts=default. Since Tycho 0.16.0.)
  • Deleting ~/.m2/repository/.meta/ resets Tycho's list of locally build artifacts, and therefore these artifacts will not be added to target platforms (unless, of course, the artifacts are installed again).


With target platform filters you can selectively remove content from the target platform. This for example allows to restrict the version of a bundle, or to select one particular provider for a package. Filtering is done as last step in the target platform computation, so the filters apply to all sources listed above.

The filters are specified in the target-platform-configuration build plugin:


         <!-- example 1: restrict version of a bundle -->
               <versionRange>[3.6,3.7)</versionRange> <!-- alternative: <version> for selecting exactly one versions -->

         <!-- example 2: remove all providers of the package javax.persistence except the bundle javax.persistence -->

         <!-- example 3: work around Equinox bug 348045 -->
            <removeAll />


  • The filters will only remove content from the target platform; they will not add new content. If you specify a restriction that is not fulfilled by any of the units from the target platform sources, all units that the filter applies to (i.e. units that match the filter.type,, and filter.version/versionRange criteria) will be removed from the target platform.
  • Package provider restrictions work by removing all other bundles exporting the package. This means that these other bundles (and the packages only exported by them) won't be available in your build.

Dependency resolution troubleshooting


Run mvn with "-Dtycho.debug.resolver=true -X" to see debug output.

This will debug

  • Properties
  • Available IUs
  • JRE IUs
  • Root IUs

Listing IUs available

To list all the available IUs in an Eclipse repository (e.g. indigo), run:

$ java -jar plugins/org.eclipse.equinox.launcher_1.2.0.v20110502.jar -debug -consolelog -application org.eclipse.equinox.p2.director -repository -list

Command running with Luna and list Luna Repository

$ java -jar plugins/org.eclipse.equinox.launcher_1.3.0.v20140415-2008.jar -debug -consolelog -application org.eclipse.equinox.p2.director -repository -list
  • Java is used (instead of the eclipse binary) so that the console output appears in the shell window instead of a spawned window
  • Make sure your shell is inside the Eclipse root directory
  • You will need to replace that version number for org.eclipse.equinox.launcher with the one found inside your Eclipse installation.
  • You will need to replace the Eclipse repository with the one you want a list of.

This can be used to double check availability of bundle versions, and compare with what Nexus thinks is available with the source Eclipse repository.

Browsing a p2 repository

There is a graphical p2 browser (java webstart app) available on github. Just follow the instructions in the README to start it.

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