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Eclipse offers the possibility to build plug-ins automatically outside the Eclipse IDE, which is called "headless build". All the techniques, examples and screen shots covered in this article refer to Eclipse 3.0. The first part of this article gives an overview of the building steps and artifacts of the headless build and introduces the required files to build RDT as example. For deployment you need to create a zip file which contains at least the plugin.xml and a jar file with the classes of the plug-in. The simplest method of deployment is to choose a zip file as the deliverable and then to unzip the build output into the plugins directory of your target Eclipse installation. Although the Feature Export Dialog allows storing the build-action in a single build script, it is not yet the solution for a fully automated build process, because this script can not be run outside of an Eclipse workbench.
There are many reasons for creating a batch build process such as providing a nightly or continuous build. After the build has finished, the deliverable and compile logs can be found in the build output directory, a subdirectory of the build directory.
The relative path to a directory where the source for the build will be exported, where scripts will be generated and where the end products of the build will be located. A directory separate from ${buildDirectory} which contains pre-built plug-ins against which to compile. After the feature and plug-ins have been copied to the build target directory, the build scripts are generated in the same way as they would be with the PDE GUI (see above). At this point of the build process the build files are in place and the compilation is started from a call to processElement in genericTargets.xml.
The assemble script copies all the build results to a temporary subdirectory in the build target directory and finally zips them up. This is a build hook which is empty per default and allows performing actions with the build output. As seen above customTargets.xml is the build file which provides hooks to customize the build process. If you reach a point where the error messages during the build are more confusing than helpful, you can debug the build run.
Unfortunately the headless build does not support all of the settings as they are provided by the Feature Export Dialog (Fig.
After the deliverable has been created the wish may arise to deploy it and to run a test suite with unit and integration tests. Fortunately, Eclipse provides a framework for test automation, which can also be leveraged for test automation of arbitrary Eclipse features.
The last step executes the non-interactive UI tests for the JDT (there are also interactive UI Tests which require the interaction of a test person to assure the layout and interactive behaviour of dialogs for example).
This build script contains the eclipse-test target which launches a new eclipse instance within which the tests will be executed. Because the deliverable for your plug-in (the zip file or update site files) should not contain the tests, another zip file for the tests must be created, called test deliverable in the following. Hopefully this article could help you in setting up project automation for your Eclipse plug-in project.
For the discussion of questions about this article and experiences with Eclipse build and test automation in general, I'd like to invite you to the RDT developer wiki [17] or to e-mail me [18]. I would like to thank Sonia Dimitrov and Pascal Rapicault for their article draft, which I have weaved into this article.
Java and all Java-based trademarks and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. I want to know if it is possible to build an eclipse plugin without using the IDE and without specifiying a eclipse workspace. I have used it many locations where it is used for logging INFO, WARNING and ERROR as well. I am trying to use a finite difference method to solve the heat equation for a given function u0.
Unfortunately, this PDEplot only works for first-order PDEs and not for second-order PDEs like the heat equation. We recognize the solution we derived in class, but apparently Maple is unable to take advantage of the conditions to arrive at the series solution we obtained on Monday. Just as in the textbook, we are going to assume that we strike the drum at the very center so that the vibration is radially symmetric and we can ignore the angle phi. Eclipse itself is built headless and since Eclipse is an assembly of plug-ins, this feature is also available for any other plug-in. The second part shows how the Eclipse Test Framework can be leveraged to extend the automatic build by running a suite of test cases on the built plug-ins.
There are tutorials and examples available which create sample plug-in projects in the workspace. Its purpose is to save the settings chosen in the Feature Export Dialog and conveniently rerun the same export function again by choosing Run->Ant Build ([3]). This requires a fully automatic build which can even start with the retrieval of the sources from CVS. After the plug-ins have been fetched, PDE reads in the plug-ins and creates a build time Eclipse host.

On Windows systems, this directory should be close to the drive root to avoid path length limitations particularly at compile time. For example, setting fetchTag=HEAD will fetch the HEAD stream of the source for all features, plug-ins and fragments listed in the map files instead of fetching the tag specified in the map entry for that element. 7 gives an overview of the main activities and the files created from these activities for the complete build process. Then this target will be executed and the information about the provided plug-ins of the feature is read in. Running the default target "fetch" of this build script calls the target getFromCVS for the feature itself and all included plug-ins.
The given id is not the Feature id as defined in the feature manifest but only an identifier for the lookup in the map file. Usually the map files are fetched from CVS and copied to the maps subdirectory of ${buildDirectory}. This can just delegate to the assemble script which has been created in the generate phase of the build process. A first measure to take is to set the AntRunner to verbose mode: add a "-verbose" behind the AntRunner argument in the java command line.
10 shows the Run configuration dialog for building sdk.examples, which we have built from command line above. These directories should contain the files that are included in the root of the generated source feature and plug-in.
Although the tests are non-interactive you will watch a workbench come up and during the execution of the test suite you can witness projects being created and closed, editors being opened and so on. At the time I automated the tests for RDT, the tests resided in extra plug-ins and there was an AllTests suite, which gathered all the tests. If you followed the pattern of the Eclipse plug-ins and created a tests plug-in project for each of your plug-ins, this can easily be achieved.
If you can use the same build properties as for the deliverable, just add an additional entry to the allElements target in customTargets.xml. Because every test run starts up a new eclipse instance, it is convenient to have a plug-in which bundles all the tests into a single AllTests suite.
15 shows the test target of customTargets.xml, which is executed in the PostBuild phase of the build process. If you run your tests on a remote *nix box, you can use Xvfb (X virtual frame buffer) to provide a dummy environment for displaying windows.
It has shown the automation mechanisms used in building Eclipse itself and how they are leveraged to build and test arbitrary plug-ins automatically with a single command.
The system is defined for two independent variables (x and t) and two dependent variables (two different concentrations). I try to use explicit finite difference method to solve this PDE and get the price of a call option.
Although the set up of automatic building and testing requires only a couple of files, it can be tedious work to do nonetheless. Compilation is done automatically from the IDE and running the project can be easily achieved with starting a runtime workbench, thanks to the self hosting feature of Eclipse. If the project grows then you may to split it up into several plug-in projects, at least plug-in projects which contain GUI components and Core plug-in projects which do not contain GUI components. Similar to the plug-ins, there is a build.properties file for the feature which can be used to customize the build process. For building outside of Eclipse, PDE provides some Ant tasks which are explained in [4]. Eclipse itself is built in that way and because "everything is a plug-in" the mechanisms can also be applied for the build of arbitrary plug-ins. Because it would not be suitable for batch processing to start up the Eclipse workbench, there is a "headless" startup mode provided, which means that Eclipse is started without loading GUI plug-ins.
The headless build takes about 10 minutes on my 1.6Ghz Win XP laptop, most of the time used for fetching the sources via a 64k internet connection. If baseLocation is given, the Eclipse installation at baseLocation is added to the build time Eclipse host. The main responsibilities are in defining the features to build and to fetch the map files. A map file is a java property file which contains mappings of elements to their CVS locations and access methods.
For every provided plug-in a corresponding build target will be added to the fetch build script. There the compilation starts and the warning and error messages of the java compiler are collected separately for each jar file. The CVS method used is ext, which allows to configure access parameters like user name, password or SSH proxy locally.
In order to get stable sources, the property fetchTag is set in build.properties and overwrites the settings from the map file.
This is inconvenient if the zip file should be extracted into a renamed Eclipse installation directory, e.g. Basically the shell script runtests starts up a new AntRunner Eclipse instance which executes one of the targets of the test.xml build file.

After the tests have run the collect target in library is called to create the result files. If there is more than one test plug-in project, a test feature can be created to bundle them. Further project automation can be achieved from the inside or from the outside: From the inside by using the hooks provided in the build files for activities like enhanced reporting.
This article shares the experiences and lessons learned while setting up automatic building and testing for an Open-Source Eclipse plug-in called RDT, Ruby Development Tools.
They can still be built and deployed separately, but having an Eclipse feature provides additional advantages and so you probably want to wrap up the plug-ins with a feature project.
However it is necessary to bundle your plug-ins into a feature project if you want to use headless build.
To start up a headless Eclipse instance which then executes an Ant build file, Eclipse must be started as AntRunner application. In our case this is necessary, because sdk.examples depends on the plug-ins in the Eclipse SDK and can therefore not be built standalone.
So, if you run the full build twice in the same directory, the sources for the plug-ins are not fetched twice. The comment will be replaced with the includes tag in the postFetch target in customTargets.xml.
Therefore an eclipse installation must exist in the eclipse subdirectory, which is called the build host in the following. 15 shows how the allElements target is adapted for RDT in order to create the deliverable and test deliverable in one step. From the outside by calling the build command as part of a broader build process from tools like CruiseControl or Maven. 3) with which you can create the deliverable: either a single zip file or the file structure for an update site. Some of the properties of build.properties can be conveniently set with the Feature Manifest Editor. If there is no real need to deploy your plug-in(s) using a feature, a feature project can also be used for the build process only. Note that the baseLocation is independent of the build host and therefore the build host can be another version of Eclipse.
The build.properties file allows customizing various build parameters, for a reference see Fig. But you need to have a working CVS connection nonetheless, because the retrieve.xml file is created and executed in any case. In the wizard which opens enter a feature name and then select all the plug-ins you want to include in your build. Therefore the archive path names should be relative to the eclipse installation directory, which can be achieved by setting the properties collectingFolder and archivePrefix to ".".
If there is no build host installation, the script tries to unzip an SDK zip which it assumes to be the same directory. At first the runtests script creates the build host and launches an Eclipse instance as AntRunner. Alternatively, if you want to keep the number of projects small and do not have the need to create the feature interactively from the feature manifest file, you can add a subdirectory to the existing feature project. Behind the scenes the feature build process just builds every contained plug-in as described above and then collects the results. Adding a plug-in or fragment to a feature therefore requires updating the map files with the new element.
If you do not want to deploy your plug-in(s) as a feature, you can configure the feature project so that it is only be used to drive the build process but will not be included in the deliverable. The map file can then be used to customize the fetch process to create a feature directory with the content of the subdirectory.
16 shows important targets of the test.xml for the RDT plug-in containing the AllTests suite. All the generated build files are temporary and will be deleted after the build has finished.
The property testPlugin defines which tests to run and the report property defines the name of the generated report.
The build file generation for every contained plug-in works in exactly the same way as if called from the "Create Ant Build File" menu entry, which also means that the build.properties file of every plug-in is considered in the same way as if the plug-in would be built standalone.
If you have the need to customize the build process beyond the possibilities of build.properties, a custom build file can be provided. Of course, the custom build file must provide the same "interface" as the generated build file has, i.e.

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