Feature based configurations, Top Eclipse Helios Feature #9

June 11, 2010 | 2 min Read

Yesterday I asked you to think about high-quality software that has been consistently delivered on-time for eight straight years. To make this quiz more challenging, this software should be installed on millions of users’ desktops.

As we approach the next major release of Eclipse – dubbed Helios – I’m counting down the top 10 features I’m most excited about. Yesterday’s feature was the improvements to Resources. Number 9 on my list comes to us courtesy of the Plug-in Development Team: Feature based targets and launch configurations.

I’ve read many articles over the years that compare IDEs. These articles often critique the support for particular programming languages. For example, some IDEs support Closure, or Haskel better than others – and if you use these languages then you should use the tool that best supports your workflow. For me, one of the most important IDE features is OSGi tooling. I spend my days writing bundles, crafting configurations, wiring together services and deploying OSGi based applications. Nothing compares to the OSGi tooling provided by Eclipse. The OSGi tooling is part of the Plug-in Development Environment. The reason it’s not called the OSGi Development Environment is strictly historical (these guys were doing OSGi tooling before it was cool).

Feature based targets and launch configurations make configuring your OSGi applications much more manageable. Features provide developers a way to ‘group’ bundles together and talk about things at a higher level. Instead of talking about the p2 engine, and p2 director, and p2 core, and all other bundles that ‘make-up’ p2, we can group these together into a feature – the p2 feature. For those of you wish you craft OSGi applications that include p2, you can simply use the p2 feature (instead of worrying about the particular bundles that constitute this feature). The real thank-you for this feature goes out to Ankur Sharma and Curtis Windatt.

This will become more and more important as Eclipse continues to grow in the Run-time space.

Ian Bull

Ian Bull

Ian is an Eclipse committer and EclipseSource Distinguished Engineer with a passion for developer productivity.

He leads the J2V8 project and has served on several …