Eclipse 3.5 Galileo – my personal Top 5

There are several new and exciting features in Galileo release. Multiple projects, hundreds of contributors, huge audience…

I decided to choose my very personal Top 5 for Galileo release:

  1. Update. New UI for installing and updating new features in Eclipse really leverages user experience. After introducing p2 in 3.4 a lot of people missed old Update Manager. With more stable and matured p2 in 3.5 version hopefully no one is missing 3.3 style updates any more. One capability I would find useful there is installing particular Installable Units instead just these which are based on Eclipse features. In p2 world all IUs are supposed to be equal.
  2. Setting the cookies in Browser. I’m really happy to finally see setCookie(value, url) method in SWT Browser class. That’s the part of API that was really missing there to make embedded browser more functional in Eclipse RCP world. Next step would be probably providing SWT support for the Webkit based browsers.
  3. Target Platforms. Galileo way of defining target platform is another item I find really useful for Eclipse RCP. Finally at least partially runtime for Eclipse RCP application can be independent from the plug-ins set in Eclipse IDE used for development!
  4. Mylyn. Previous Mylyn version satisfied most of my requirements to work with Bugzilla. But new Mylyn Editor just feels better for me even if it took me a day or two to get used to the context activation button being moved from right to left side of the toolbar.
  5. OSGi Declarative Services. I’m excited about declarative services in Equinox. I didn’t have opportunity to try it yet but I have high hopes for the near future!

Automatic PDE build with Pluginbuilder

Pluginbuilder is Eclipse tool that generates build configuration based on PDE build. By default the tool generates map file containing the information how source code of the plug-ins should be obtained. Supported methods are: CVS, GET and COPY. Assuming that you want to build your features or product from source files that are checked-out from repository independently from the build process COPY options seems to look reasonable. There are few problems with that:

  • it requires absolute paths to plug-ins/features locations
  • every single plug-in has to be listed there

Workaround for this is not using map file at all and provide appropriate build directory structure outside. To skip fetching resources based on map file configuration one need to set skipMaps property in file. Next step is to configure getting plug-ins/features resources into build directory. Recommended phase for copying the source code is preSetup phase in PDE build. To hook into this phase standard ant task for copying the files/directories in to build directory have to be invoked in preSetup target in customTargets.xml (it is generated by Pluginbuilder as well as other configuratoin files in build-files directory).

Those two modifications allow to make use of Pluginbuilder generated scripts to build Eclipse based applications without coupling it tightly to version control system.

Eclipse Jobs API – Errata

My colleague Lukasz Milewski has just spotted a missing piece in a code sample for creating icons presented in previous post. In the screenshot you can see nice icons for currently running Jobs as well as for scheduled Jobs. You need to set two properties in your Job implementation to associate an icon with it.

	setProperty(IProgressConstants.KEEP_PROPERTY, Boolean.TRUE);
	setProperty(IProgressConstants.ICON_PROPERTY, ImageDescriptorFactory

Using Eclipse Jobs API

Eclipse platform offers great API for managing long running operations in the background. Besides the API for starting, stopping and monitoring progress of the Job – there is also standard UI for managing all those operations. I’m going to present sample usage of Jobs API in you own plug-in/application.

Creating and scheduling Job may look like this:

 TrainJob job = new TrainJob(TRAIN_JOB_NAME + file.getName(), classifier);
 job.schedule(); // start as soon as possible

Sample of custom Job:


import static org.eclipse.core.runtime.Status.OK_STATUS;
import org.eclipse.core.runtime.IProgressMonitor;
import org.eclipse.core.runtime.IStatus;

 * Class for execution of training of a classifier
 * @since 1.0
public class TrainJob extends Job {
 private AbstractClassifier classifier;

  * Public constructor TrainJob
  * @param name Train job name
  * @param classifier Classifier to be trained
 public TrainJob(String name, AbstractClassifier classifier) {
 	this.classifier = classifier;

 protected IStatus run(IProgressMonitor monitor) {
 	// Long running operation - in this case classifier training
       // ...
       return OK_STATUS;


Standard GUI for presenting Job progress:

Jobs API View

Eclipse RCP tips and tricks

Recently I had to do couple of tricks Eclipse RCP applications. Basically all of the pieces of code presented below need to be placed in method initialize(IWorkbenchConfigurer configurer). You need to override this method in WorkbenchAdvisor subclass.

  • Displaying icons in Navigator View
    final String ICONS_PATH = "icons/full/";
    final String PATH_OBJECT = ICONS_PATH + "obj16/";
    Bundle ideBundle = Platform.getBundle(IDEWorkbenchPlugin.IDE_WORKBENCH);
    declareWorkbenchImage(configurer, ideBundle,
    IDE.SharedImages.IMG_OBJ_PROJECT, PATH_OBJECT + "prj_obj.gif", true);
    declareWorkbenchImage(configurer, ideBundle,
    + "cprj_obj.gif", true);
  • Enabling Decoration Context
    DecorationContext dc = (DecorationContext) DecorationContext.DEFAULT_CONTEXT;
    dc.putProperty(IDecoration.ENABLE_REPLACE, Boolean.TRUE);
  • Enabling Jobs Progress Bar
    IWorkbench wb = PlatformUI.getWorkbench();

Probably you don’t need any of those when running your plug-ins in Eclipse IDE. The tricky part is running it in a stripped to minimum RCP based applications.

Eclipse RCP launcher icon

Eclipse RCP allows easily create an application. Additional advantage of the platform is a native launcher of the application which allows it to behave more like “native” application. It much better to have a process called your_application.exe running instead of another java.exe process.  You will probably also want to have some nice icon attached to *.exe file of your application. This can be done easily in Eclipse 3.4. First you need to create *.ico file (containing all necassary images inside) – one of the generators available on the web can be used for this (for example).

Next step is configuration in *.product file:

 <launcher name="caracal">
      <win useico="true">
         <ico path="/"></ico>

You can also use product file editor for this (a lot of enhancements were added in Eclipse 3.4):

Launcher icon configuration

After building the application based on product file launcher will have your custom icon. No resource hacking, nor recompiling native C code is required!

Launcher custom icon