MarketPlace Client, Top Eclipse Helios Feature #4

As most of you know, Eclipse Helios will be released next week. For regular readers of my blog (and PlanetEclipse.org), you know that I’ve been counting down some of the new features available in this release. During this series I have received comments (both in the comment fields, and on places like twitter) that essentially read: I really like Eclipse except it doesn’t have an editor for XYZ. Or, when I get the following package, it has feature ABC which I don’t want. Obviously we can’t please all the people all of the time.

It was feedback like this that inspired Feature Number 4 on my Top 10 List: The Eclipse MarketPlace Client.

As we all know, Eclipse is much more than a Java IDE. In fact, Eclipse is an entire eco-system with thousands of plug-ins. Some of these plug-ins are packaged with the different Eclipse downloads. Other plug-ins are available as projects at eclipse.org. However, there are also thousands of plug-ins that are not hosted at Eclipse. Some of these are commercial tools developed for enterprise customers. Others (like one of my favourites — the vi plugin) have a small cost associated to help pay for the developers time. Finally, there is a large assortment of plug-ins available from a variety of other hosting sites. Finding and installing these components has always been a challenge, but with the Helios release this will all change.

The MarketPlace Client (MPC) makes it easy to browse and install 3rd party components. Available under Eclipse -> Help, this new feature should make it much easier to find the tools you need.

mpc MarketPlace Client, Top Eclipse Helios Feature #4

Also, unlike other ‘famous’ markets (or app stores), the Eclipse MarketPlace Client is plug-able and open, meaning vendors are free to create custom market places for their particular needs. Helios currently ships with 2 marketplaces, one from Eclipse.org, and the Yoxos Market hosted by EclipseSource. The two markets are slightly different in that the Eclipse MarketPlace lists plug-ins for a variety Eclipse versions, while the Yoxos MarketPlace is a curated repository of Helios related content.

mpc2 MarketPlace Client, Top Eclipse Helios Feature #4

It was the great work from David Green and Steffen Pingel that brought us this feature. Nathan Gervais from the Eclipse Foundation did the server side work, while Ian Skerrett was the point person behind all of this.

In addition to the MarketPlace, the Eclipse Foundation, with the help of Google, have launched the Eclipse Labs.

Eclipse Labs is a community of open source projects that build technology based on the Eclipse platform. It provides the infrastructure services typically required by open source projects, such as code repositories, bug tracking, project web sites/wiki. Eclipse Labs is hosted by Google Code Project Hosting, so it will be very familiar to developers already using Google Code Project Hosting.

Combing the market place with Eclipse Labs will make it much easier for developers to create, publish and distribute their products to the community.

9 Responses to “MarketPlace Client, Top Eclipse Helios Feature #4”

  1. Del says:

    Hah, you were too slow on this one, Ian. I beat you to the punch :-).

  2. David Green says:

    Ian, great post! An interesting note: the Marketplace Client uses those great new p2 APIs that you mentioned in Helios feature #5

  3. Luís Carlos Moreira da Costa says:

    @Great post!

    @Thanks!

  4. Richard says:

    There is no “Eclipse -> Help”, there is a help menu, but marketplace is not on that menu. Nor is it anywhere in the preferences or help itself. They sure did hide it well, because I can’t find it.

  5. Richard says:

    I see what’s going on now. Only two of the Helios packages have this feature, and neither of them are the eclipse classic package that I prefer. This seems odd, since the people who prefer classic usually do so because it doesn’t start with a bunch of stuff they don’t need, and the first stop after that is to add the plugins we do need. To make matters worse, there is no “marketplace client plugin” to install. I had to actually download the JEE package to have the feature.

  6. Ian Bull says:

    @Richard,

    Thanks for pointing this out. I’ll ping the MPC folks and see if there is an update site so we can install the Marketplace into distributions like ‘Eclipse Classic’.

  7. If you have the Classic SDK, you can use the standard p2 way of installing the MPC from Helios.

    ‘Help’ > ‘Install New Software…’ > select the preconfigured Helios repository > open ‘General Purpose Tools’ > select the ‘Market Place Client’. The only drawback of the installation method is that you only get a single Eclipse Marketplace configuration.

    A better solution would be to open the p2 installation dialog with the Helios repository, deselect the ‘Group items by category’ and install the ‘EPP Common Package Feature’. If you are installing this feature, you get the Classic SDK with the same Marketplace definition as in the other EPP packages.

  8. Richard says:

    After playing with it a bit, I’m finding it’s not so useful, and sort of buggy. For example, let’s say you want to install mylyn. Searching on “myl” or “myl*” gives you nothing, but “mylyn” gives you mylyn plus some unrelated stuff.
    Next, try and install it (or anything else that is already installed – since I’m on JEE now mylyn is already part of the package). Without confirmation, the screen flickers and an error pops up – “there is nothing to update”. Dismiss. Click on next. Same error. Click on back. Click on the “installed” tab (to see if it’s already there, of course). Blank window. Click on the other tabs. All blank. There is a link on the bottom of the screen – “one solution selected” – clicking on it causes eclipse to pause for a second, then return with no change. The marketplace client screen can’t recover from the attempted install of mylyn. The only thing you can do cancel and start over.
    Another issue is that you can’t update more than one thing at a time. Once you start the install, you are forced through the download and optional restart, then you have to open the marketplace client and start over. Perhaps for a v2 release they should let you queue up some plugins and install at the same time. However only one plugin was even available through the client (findbugs) so it looks like they have some time.

  9. Ian Bull says:

    @richard,

    Thanks for pointing these out. The substring searchers (“myl” for example) works on the Yoxos marketplace, but the Eclipse Marketplace doesn’t support this. Feel free to file a bug against the Eclipse Foundation with this request.

    I’m sure there are a few usability problems (“there is nothing to update” is a good example of that), but for the most part I’m been very impressed with the tool. I know you can select multiple items — hit the install button, and then press back and select another thing. Maybe we can work on improving that workflow.

    Finally, I don’t know why you can only find one plug-in. Have you tried both marketplaces? I know the Yoxos market has over a thousand listed.

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