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[equinox-dev] [prov] p2 / browser integration

I'd like to submit this as a feature request, but wanted to solicit feedback here first. Apologies for the long post.


(BTW, in this feature request I'm a bit loose with the terminology re: site.xml, features, etc... I realize this has all changed in p2, but I'm sticking with the old terms since they make more sense in this discussion).

One of the major pain points with the old UpdateManager is that users must create remote sites by typing the update site URL manually into the UM dialog. 9 times out of 10, the URL is copied & pasted from the browser, and the user is most likely going to install the only feature available in the site.xml (as advertised on the web page he copied the link from).

I see two possible approaches for providing better integration between the browser and Eclipse. Both assume we have a native application capable of handing the site URL and other information into p2.

1. Register a file handler for the meta-data file extension with the OS. The browser would then prompt the user to download or open the file using the associated file handler. This would require a custom and unique file extension (*.ep2) to avoid conflict with other applications.

2. Register a URI handler (such as eclipse://) with the OS. The feature publisher would build a link to his update site URL (and possibly the name of the feature to be auto-installed). When clicked, the browser will pass the entire link to our native application.

Once the native application has been launched with this site information (whether by URI or file extension), it would need a way to pass the information to the p2 install agent. Of course we may have 0-N eclipse instances running (with 0-N p2 agents as well?) so we would need to handle each of these scenarios. At first glance the safest and most flexible approach might be to store the site/feature information to a temporary file where a p2 directory watcher could find it.

I realize this is a fairly complex scenario, but it would enchance the user experience considerably. Some best practice docs and a few sample Eclipse feature download button images (seach for "Firefox extensions" and notice the Firefoxy install buttons) would go a long way, and possibly encourage early-adoption of p2 by feature providers.