Target Platform Improvements, Top Eclipse Helios Feature #6

June 16, 2010 | 3 min Read

There are three large groups of artifacts that play a key role while writing software. There are the tools you use, the code you write and the libraries you depend on. There is a large body of research studying the cognitive support provided by software development tools. There is also a number of tool centric development models. Facilities like Yoxos and the Eclipse Market Place help you manage these tool chains.

Regarding source code management, there’s a endless debate over which tools, technologies and techniques we should use. In fact, most University curriculum’s spend a great deal of time on how to best architect, design, document, write and manage source code.

However, when it comes to the management of your 3rd party libraries – the code you need but you don’t write – this is very much an ad hoc process. Finding dependencies, including them on your build path, finding the corresponding source, determining (and locating) which version you need, etc… is mostly a manual process:

  1. Figure out what jar you need (Apache commons collections for example)
  2. Use google to search for the jar
  3. Add the jar to your path
  4. Run
  5. Look at the errors
    • Did you have the right version
    • Did you miss any dependencies
  6. Figure out what else you need to find
  7. GOTO 2

Lucky for us as Eclipse developers, PDE’s Target Platform and Target Definitions make this process effortless. You can define and share you dependencies with your team. If you are missing a dependency, it can be automatically provisioned and placed on your build-path.

Eclipse 3.6 is hitting the shelves (or at least the download mirrors) in 1 week, and to celebrate this release I’ve been counting down the Top 10 features I’m most excited about. Number 6 on my list is the Improvements to Target Platform Management.

In Eclipse 3.6 you will be able to search repositories and quickly add components from these repositories to your target platform (Ctrl+Shift+Alt+A).

In addition to this, a new quickfix allows you to search repositories for a missing import package and have a bundle supplying the package added to your target.

Finally, one of the biggest headaches for release engineers is collecting all these bundles that constitute your target. There is now a new export wizard that will export all the bundles in your target to a single directory. The tool will also generate a p2 repository. This repository can then be used in your build as a repoBaseLocation.

A big thanks goes out to Chris Aniszczyk and his army of Minions for this work ;-).

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 …