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What is the best way Eclipse developers search to find which plugins to leverage for an RCP product? [message #1852891] Thu, 09 June 2022 15:45 Go to next message
K MFriend
Messages: 2
Registered: June 2022
Junior Member
I have fairly limited experience developing eclipse plugins/products. Prior to what I'm working on now, I have only created a headless RCP app (I know it sounds redundant) for parsing C/C++ code using CDT, which was painful for reasons involving CDT specifically.

I'm currently trying to create a non-deliv tool just to facilitate my team in some of the tasks they need to complete regularly. The core principal I'm trying to utilize is modularity, so I thought maybe I should see if OSGI/Equinox/Eclipse would be better suited to this than my own less-robust-but-more-simple-to-use plugin architecture that allows for isolated libs+plugins.

The problem I'm running into (again) with my latest RCP, is that I'm finding it very difficult to try and leverage things from the existing Eclipse Java or C/C++ IDEs. Most notably, I'm finding it very difficult to even find where these things are. For standard development (i.e. not RCP), Google is often a reliable resource to find answers to API questions, but for RCP I'm finding that Google often comes up not helpful. Is there some resource that people are using to try and find which plugins to leverage for functionality and how to go about it.

Just as some examples of issues that I'm facing that I'm not finding resources for (outside of manually traversing code and very sparse Google results):


  1. Part of the design I'm going for in my non-deliv application is to allow a user to set up workspaces to customize different environments independently. But I've come to find out (the hard way) that the standard Eclipse "Choose Workspace" dialog (org.eclipse.ui.internal.ide.ChooseWorkspaceDialog) that pops up is restricted to use in the org.eclipse.ui.ide (with help from a Google search that led me here https://www.eclipse.org/forums/index.php/t/128805/). Even worse yet, I've so far found out that the functionality surrounding the dialog (i.e. workspace verification, for example) is controlled by a separate Application, org.eclipse.ui.internal.ide.application.IDEApplication. I might try out just invoking this application, as a delegate, from my own application, but for now I've had to copy-and-paste code from IDEApplication get the Dialog to show up at least in a familiar way which just seems wrong. Even at that, ChooseWorkspaceDialog is not part of the exported packages so I'm not 'supposed' to be calling it from my code anyway.
  2. Downstream of the previous bullet item, I've found somehow that some other extension for the menu extension point is being activated, and for the life of me, I can't figure out where it is or how to stop it. It's not a huge deal in this particular case; It's the menu item from the Help menu for "Show Active Key Bindings...". In the more broad sense, however, if this is indicative of how trying to leverage menus/views/panels from other plugins will be then I'm more likely to stay clear of an RCP solution for the tool I'm trying to create. I understand how extensions get activated, but this just seems like the wild west that extensions get activated because they're grouped in with common classes that really should just be in standalone libs.
  3. Part of the intent is to have a non-deliv tool that can be integrated into existing development tools. There is more than just the standard Eclipse Java and C/C++ IDE that people are using, but we'll just stick with the IDEs since everyone knows what those are here. The idea is to have an RCP application that can be standalone for the purpose of the non-deliv tool, but also can be leveraged as plugins that can be integrated into a developers existing IDE to have what is, at least to the developers perspective, one single tool to work with. Inversely, I would also like the ability for other Eclipse plugins/features to be installed into my RCP application - which leads to my next issue. I'm having issues finding out not only where the "Window -> Perspective" menu extension exists, but also where the "Help -> Install New Software..." extension lives. Google obviously comes up with a lot of 'how to use Eclispe for beginners' sort of results, so it's not terribly helpful. I can try to extract all sorts of information from Jars from an existing installation, but that seems like a backwards way to get information in 2022.


Any resources for finding answers to these questions, or how I might become self-sufficient to answer my own questions would be greatly appreciated!
Re: What is the best way Eclipse developers search to find which plugins to leverage for an RCP prod [message #1852912 is a reply to message #1852891] Fri, 10 June 2022 13:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ed Merks is currently offline Ed MerksFriend
Messages: 32395
Registered: July 2009
Senior Member
What I find generally useful is to look at exactly how things are implemented by others. This tutorial describes how to set up a development environment for all the source projects of everything in the Eclipse SDK:

https://wiki.eclipse.org/Eclipse_Platform_SDK_Provisioning

This way you have source code you can search for anything, change anything, just to try it out, and can launch a self-hosted application in debug mode to see how it all works at runtime.

The CDT project also has an Oomph setup serving the same purpose.

There are indeed lots of tricky things and it's really hard to find decent documentation for this huge amount of source code. But I have no magic bullet for that. Mostly I Google and look at source code. You might consider hiring an expert to get you onto the right path...


Ed Merks
Professional Support: https://www.macromodeling.com/
Re: What is the best way Eclipse developers search to find which plugins to leverage for an RCP prod [message #1853072 is a reply to message #1852912] Thu, 16 June 2022 16:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
K MFriend
Messages: 2
Registered: June 2022
Junior Member
I was unable to configure Oomph to a degree that made it useful because it requires all sorts of authentications apparently, that I don't even have. The descriptions to all the things available are extremely unhelpful, so removing plugins I could only imagine (by acronym alone) that I didn't think were relevant to me and the RCP product I'm building, just to remove the need to authenticate to projects that I didn't need, ended up removing things that I probably needed. End result was I ended up with a workbench that didn't have what I needed to search through.

Let me pose another issue I'm having instead, as another example. I'm trying to go through tutorials and generated code about how to use Views and add Views to my custom Perspective. The problem is that if a user clicks the X button on a view, then it is gone forever (or the remainder of the lifespan of the workspace) because the "Window -> Show View" menu and menu contributions will not show up in my workspace. All the tutorials out there seem to either be 'hello world' based to just add a view, or skip right past the hello-world's and just assume that you already have the plugin for the "Window -> Show View" (and for that matter, "Reset Perspective" and "Change Perspective" menu contributions).

I tried greping through all the plugins in my JavaEE IDE to see which plugins have this menu, but I can't seem to find what I'm looking for (I'm looking specifically in the plugin.xml files for a menu element in the XML files that matches). It's possible that I didn't notice it when visually inspecting because there is just a ton of noise.

I'm also noticing that, by virtue of greping for the Window menu, that a huge number of plugins are dependent on that 'Window' menu but none seem to have it as a dependency, or at least not in a way that makes it visible in my own RCP.

[Updated on: Thu, 16 June 2022 16:36]

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Re: What is the best way Eclipse developers search to find which plugins to leverage for an RCP prod [message #1853075 is a reply to message #1853072] Thu, 16 June 2022 17:44 Go to previous message
Ed Merks is currently offline Ed MerksFriend
Messages: 32395
Registered: July 2009
Senior Member
I'm confused. What authentication did you require? The choice to use anonymous access to the Git repositories is the default. The wiki has a link where you could ask about any problems you encounter.

You might notice that very few people answer questions here so I'm not sure what specifically you're expecting now, especially after simply giving up on what I suggested. Note also that you don't actually have a single question in your post.


Ed Merks
Professional Support: https://www.macromodeling.com/
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