I Spy Menus

Everyone remember the beloved PDE plug-in spy? Well, on a recent plane trip… I did some hacking to enable menu introspection… check out this video:


So when you launch the spy in menu mode (alt+shift+f2) and click on something like the ‘Generate Javadoc…’ menu entry, you get this pop-up:


The functionality is currently in very rough shape… I released some initial code for the I20090317 “EclipseCon build.” If you have any suggestions on how to improve this introspection workflow or presentation, please comment and let me know! On a side note, Paul Webster  and I plan to have a hackathon session at EclipseCon to solidify the menu introspection code for the Eclipse 3.5 M7 release. Feel free to join to us!

Finally, I hope to see everyone at EclipseCon!

7 Responses to “I Spy Menus”

  1. marc says:

    nice! So just to clarify for myself (a relative eclipse n00b), the idea here is that you’re a plugin developer and you want to contribute something to some other plugin’s menu. You can then use the menu spy to easily get the context identifier for use in your own plugin.xml. Is that the idea? Without the menu spy, what’s the fastest way to the same information?

    And does the menu spy give you *everything* you need to know to correctly populate your plugin.xml?

    The reason I ask is that I think stuff like this is *extremely* helpful especially for newer plugin programmers as it aids in their understanding of how everything fits together; but it’s less helpful if it only gives enough information such that an experienced plugin programmer would know what to do with it but an inexperienced plugin programmer would only be getting part of the info they need.

    just a thought.

  2. Any chance to package an update site, so it could be used with Eclipse 3.4?

  3. Frederic Conrotte says:

    Hi Chris,

    Is this spy somehow equivalent to RCP Inspect ?

    http://rcpinspect.sourceforge.net ?


  4. Marc, that is exactly the idea. WIthout the spy, the fastest information is generally to source plugin.xml files or source code. As of right now, the spy should give you all the information you need to populate a menu-related plugin.xml entry. I think it would be interesting to possibly supply menu URIs in the popup that you could just copy and paste…

    Eugene, please file a bug against PDE and I’ll see what I can do.

    Frederic, I’ve seen that project before but it operates a bit differently than the spy. I don’t think it displays the information in a friendly manner and if you’re looking for things like help context identifiers… it’s very difficult to find that using the tool.

  5. Madhu says:

    Hello Chris,

    This is an excellent functionality. Many times in my eclipse coding life, I felt I wanted a similar functionality.


  6. marc says:

    Chris, copy-n-paste menu URIs would be sweet. Anything the platform can do to help me answer the question “How do I put something [in this place]?”, where place is a menu, a toolbar, etc, is a big productivity enhancement.

    thanks for the great work.

  7. Wim Jongman says:

    Very good. Thanks!

7 responses so far

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