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Home » Eclipse Projects » Plugin Development Environment (PDE) » What is the preferred/correct way to build a complex eclipse product?
What is the preferred/correct way to build a complex eclipse product? [message #590642] Tue, 27 January 2009 16:36
Marc Moser is currently offline Marc MoserFriend
Messages: 66
Registered: July 2009

I have several problems properly building my product. I'm also not sure
if the way I'm approaching things is good or bad. Currently, things
work like this:

Our company builds a small number of plug-ins that depend on various
Eclipse projects, mainly EMF, OCL, EcoreTools and Birt.
We want to give these plug-ins to our clients in the form of a single,
eclipse based product. This product should not only contain our
plug-ins (and their dependencies of course) but as well some
additionall plug-ins from other Eclipse projects, such as GEF, GMF,
UML2 and others.

Now, what I usually do is the following:

1) Download and install the newest milestone of Eclipse SDK 3.5 and
unpack somewhere
2) Download all the eclipse projects that I want to have in the final
product and put them in the dropins folder
3) In the product definition of my product, simply add everything: my
own features, but as well all features of the host
4) Export the product

This process always leads to problems:

Problem with 2): I can't remember how many hours it takes me each time
until I get an environment that seems to load all plug-ins
successfully. Often, some plug-ins in the dropins folder are loaded,
while some aren't. Removing stuff that doesn't work often does not
really remove everything and I have to restart the complete process,
unpacking the Eclipse SDK and starting with only the stuff in dropins
that actually works...
Is there really no simpler way to do this? I also tried using the UI,
but this usually leads to even more problems. Last time I tried for
example, I couldn't install GMF this way, and some projects such as
WTP, DTP, Birt do not seem to provide update sites for the latest

Problem with 4): my product does not support P2
As a solution to this problem, I tried to follow Andrew Niefer's
example describing a headless build for a rcp product with p2
( or-rcp-product.html).
I could successfully build the acme product, but only in a very clean
environment. What I mean is: I did a fresh install of Eclipse SDK 3.5M4
and installed the delta pack, and I could build the acme product
without problem. Then I started to install some of the Eclipse projects
(using the P2 UI) such as EMF, OCL, GEF, ... when I re-tried to build
the acme product I got a lot of errors.

Honestly, prior to P2, I did not have so many problems. I installed the
plug-ins, analyzed if they are working (e.g. checked the "Manage
configuration" dialog) and always got it working somehow in a rather
short amount of time. Now with P2, I feel kind of lost and things feel
more complicated than the did before. I can't really judge what's
working and what isn't, and I feel like a monkey if I simply do "add to
dropins, remove from dropins, re-add" for several times in different
order until it finally works (and that's the strange thing, doing this
sometimes really helps...). Maybe I'm just missing something
fundamental with P2?? I would really want to like P2...

Does anyone have some ideas/remarks? I don't really understand why I'm
always having that much trouble to get a working environment and why it
always takes so much time to create it.

Many thanks for your help!

All the best,
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