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Xtext compatibility with Eclipse [message #1744114] Thu, 22 September 2016 12:52 Go to next message
Rolf Theunissen is currently offline Rolf TheunissenFriend
Messages: 259
Registered: April 2012
Senior Member
On the Xtext website there are release notes for the Xtext version 2.5 up to 2. 9.

However there are no notes about compatibility of Xtext. Which version of Xtext is supported on which version of Eclipse and/or EMF?

Say for instance, I have to develop an editor which can be installed in Luna, what is the highest version of Xtext I can use?

Are there also constraints on the runtime version? For instance, is it possible to run an editor created in Xtext 2.9 on the Xtext 2.8 runtime? Or the other way around.

Kind Regards,

[Updated on: Fri, 23 September 2016 06:11]

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Re: Xtext comparability with Eclipse [message #1744129 is a reply to message #1744114] Thu, 22 September 2016 14:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Karsten Thoms is currently offline Karsten ThomsFriend
Messages: 762
Registered: July 2009
Location: Dortmund, Germany
Senior Member

Dear Rolf,

Xtext < 2.9 was developed to be runnable on Eclipse 3.5 and above. However, there are sometimes concrete problems that block a usage in certain environments (e.g. Xtext 2.9 on Indigo, bug#488377).

The current target platform for Xtext 2.9+ is Eclipse Luna based.

Xtext is usually backward compatible, we pay high attention on API stability. This usually means that a DSL developed for a lower version can run on a higher runtime. The opposite is not the case.

If certain configurations do not work, but need to work, we provide services that help to fix the situation.

In general, Xtext participates in the official Eclipse release train, so certain versions of Xtext are guaranteed to work with the other frameworks of the release train (e.g. Xtext 2.10 for Eclipse Neon). Other configurations are likely supported, but without guarantee.

Re: Xtext comparability with Eclipse [message #1744141 is a reply to message #1744129] Thu, 22 September 2016 16:24 Go to previous message
Ed Willink is currently offline Ed WillinkFriend
Messages: 7593
Registered: July 2009
Senior Member

I'm afraid that backwards compatibility is only half of the Xtext compatibility story.

Xtext is a provider as well as a consumer of API that needs to be compatible. While backward compatibility has been quite good, forward compatibility is rather poor. i.e if a vendor develops a 'base' Xtext editor using say Xtext 2.8 on Mars and you use it in an extended editor, you cannot port your extended editor to Neon until the vendor has ported the base editor. This is because there was a breaking change to the generated Serializer API in Xtext 2.9. IIRC at 2.7 there was a breaking change to the Xtext model that made *.xtextbin files unloadable.

The OCL project, which provides base editors that are extended by the QVTd project, works around the 2.7 problem with a Java replacement for the *.xtextbin file; this gives compatibility and a startup performance improvement. The 2.9 breakage is too hard to workaround, consequently OCL was forced to release 2.1 for Neon with Xtext 2.8 compatibility and 2.2 for Neon++ shortly afterwards with Xtext 2.10 compatibility.

(EMF, which has a similar forward compatibility issue, provides a run-time compatibility version option in GenModel, so that EMF 2.12 can generate 2.7 compatible API. I look forward to a similar Xtext option once sufficient users demand it.)

Neon projects are increasingly dependent on Java 8 which imposes severe limitations on what Eclipse you can use.


Ed Willink
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