MyEclipse provides flexible options for adding new plug-ins through its built-in catalog, a variety of update site types, or the dropins folder. In addtion, native MyEclipse capabilities can be added or removed to created a completely customized development environment. This tutorial shows how get started using all of these mechanisms with your MyEclipse installation.
If you'd like to use traditional update sites, please note that there are several different ways to add plug-ins from an update site available to you with MyEclipse. However, first you must have access to the update site site in one of the forms listed below.
- You must
know the web location (URL) of the site that you want to add.
- OR you must have a copy of an update site as a local directory
- OR you must have a zip file that is a valid archived update site
The next sections will cover how to customize MyEclipse using each of these methods.
Adding Plug-ins from the MyEclipse Configuration Center Catalog
The easiest way to add additional plug-ins to MyEclipse is through the built-in software catalog within the MyEclipse Configuration Center. To open the Configuration Center go to "Help > MyEclipse Configuration Center" as shown in Figure 2.1.
After the MyEclipse Configuration Center opens you will see a Software tab, shown in Figure 2.2, which displays your current MyEclipse configuration. Additionally, the Software tab enables you to add additional plug-ins into your MyEclipse installation from either the software catalog or from local or remote update sites.
If you know the name of the plug-in you'd like to add you can simply type it into the Search area and hit the Enter key. However, in this section we'll assume you don't know the exact plug-in you're looking for, but instead want to use the built-in catalog to browse. Browsing by category can be done by simply selecting "Browse Categories" and drilling down to the level you're interested in. As an example we're going to install the AnyEdit Tools by clicking on it in the listing, and then right-clicking to select "Add to profile..." as shown in Figure 2.3.
If there are any additional plug-ins you'd like to add, from either the
catalog or update sites, you can add any combination of them at this
time. Since changes to the plug-in configuration will require a restart, it's most efficient to make all your changes at once then apply them all simultaneously.
Once all of your changes are complete you must then select the "Apply
changes" button to download the software, accept any additional license
agreements, complete the installation, and restart MyEclipse. A simple set of status dialogs will display as you're walked through this process. After completion you'll be asked to restart MyEclipse to activate your changes, as shown in Figure 2.5.
Now that you have added plug-ins using the catalog within the MyEclipse Configuration Center, please see the next section for details of how to add an update site to your configuration so you can add plug-ins that are not included in the catalog.
Adding Plug-ins from an Update Site
Adding a plug-in to MyEclipse using an update site can also easily be done from the MyEclipse Configuration Center. We'll begin by selecting "Help > MyEclipse Configuration Center", selecting the Software tab, and clicking the 'add site' link as shown in Figure 3.1 & 3.2.
After selecting "add site" you will be able to configure the update site location and provide a description as shown in Figure 3.3. Please note that the default dialog is configured for remote update sites that you access using a URL since this type of site is the most often used. If you have a local update site on your machine or an archived update site in a zip archive those can be used as well by selecting the "Add from Local Folder" or "Add from Archive File" links in the dialog instead of entering the name and URL. However, for the example we'll be using the public update site for CheckStyle so we've filled in the URL and description for it below.
Once you press "OK" you'll return to the Software tab. Next, expand the update site you just added and select the plug-ins you'd like to add to MyEclipse by right-clicking on each of them and selecting "Add to profile..." as shown in Figure 3.4. If there are any additional plug-ins you'd like to add, from either the
catalog or update sites, you can add any combination of them at this
time. Since changes to the plug-in configuration will require a restart, it's
most efficient to make all your changes at once then apply them all
You'll note in Figure 3.4 that "Eclipse Checkstyle Plug-in" is listed twice on the update site. If you select each of them you'll see the description explains that one is version 4 and the other is version 5. In this example, we're choosing to install version 5 only. After adding the plug-in to the profile you'll see it listed as a pending change as shown in Figure 3.5
Once all your changes are complete, select the "Apply changes..." button to download the software, accept any additional license
agreements, complete the installation, and restart MyEclipse. A simple set of status dialogs will display as you're walked through
this process. After completion you'll be asked to restart MyEclipse to
activate your changes, as shown in Figure 3.6.
Now that you have learned to add plug-ins from both the catalog and an update site, please see the next section for details of installing plug-ins using the dropins folder.
Installing Plug-ins Using the Dropins Folder
In this section we'll look at how to install additional plug-ins using the dropins folder within your MyEclipse installation directory. However, please note that this facility is primarily provided for backward compatibility to support plug-ins for which no traditional update site is available. If either a catalog entry or update site is available for the plug-in you wish to add then using the methods described in Section 2 or Section 3 is highly recommended instead. Adding plug-ins using the dropins folder should be treated more as a "method of last resort" and only employed when none of the better options is feasible.
The dropins folder is used from outside of MyEclipse so you must first shutdown MyEclipse (if running) and then open your file explorer and navigate to the dropins folder under the MyEclipse directory, as shown in Figure 4.1. The dropins folder should be completely empty at this point.
Next navigate to the zipped plug-in you'd like to install and extract it to the dropins folder within your MyEclipse installation directory as shown in Figures 4.2 & 4.3.
After you extract the file, your folder tree should look something like Figure 4.3. Please be sure that the "features" and "plugins" folders are immediate children of the dropins folder or the plug-ins will not be recognized when MyEclipse is started.
Now, to test that the plug-ins were successfully added we'll need to start MyEclipse. Upon startup, MyEclipse will automatically check the dropins folder, add any plug-ins it finds there, and report the status of the additional plug-ins with a dialog like the one shown in Figure 4.4.
Now that you've successfully installed the new plug-ins through the dropins mechanism you can immediately begin using them within MyEclipse. For this particular example you can see that the Drools perspective is now available within MyEclipse's perspective list in Figure 4.5 below.
That completes this section of the tutorial.
Updating MyEclipse and Additional Plug-ins
Installing updates to either MyEclipse components or external plug-ins is easily done in the same way, through the Dashboard tab of the MyEclipse Configuration Center. To check for updates simply lauch MyEclipse and open the MyEclipse Configuration Center by selecting "Help > MyEclipse Configuration Center" as shown in Figure 5.1.
Once the MyEclipse Configuration Center opens, selecting the Software tab will show you the current configuration of your installation as well as whether any updates are available for MyEclipse or any installed plug-ins. The update status is displayed in the "Software Updates Available" section, as shown in Figure 5.2 below.
In this example installation no updates are currently available. However, if one or more plug-ins had pending updates then they would be listed in the highlighted area with corresponding checkboxes so that you could indicate which of the updates you wanted to install. Each checked update would increase the number of "Pending Changes" available for the installation and would be applied only when selected "Apply changes..." as you saw in the other sections of this tutorial.
6. Adding and Removing MyEclipse Features with the Dashboard
In the earlier sections of this quickstart we looked at all the different ways you could customize MyEclipse by adding externally developed features to it. However, we realize that MyEclipse's native capabilities are quite extensive and very often contain features that many developers may not need on a daily basis. Since no one but the developer knows what tools are really needed for a particular task, MyEclipse provides a unique level of customization for its native features that allow you to completely customize it to contain only those native features that you're going to be using.
In this section we'll be using the MyEclipse Configuration Center's Dashboard tab to "slim down" our MyEclipse install by removing some features. For the purpose of this example, we'll be pretending that we're configuring MyEclipse for use by a web developer that is building applications using a tradtional Struts 2 / JSP front end and a Spring / Hibernate backend for deployment on Tomcat both as an application and to support web service access.
To configure the native capabilities of MyEclipse you'll need to begin by opening the MyEclipse Configuration
Center. To open the Configuration Center go to "Help > MyEclipse Configuration Center" as shown in Figure 6.1.
the MyEclipse Configuration Center opens you will see a Dashboard tab,
shown in Figure 6.2, which displays your current configuration as well as what MyEclipse Features are currently installed.
In order to customize MyEclipse for our exemplary development scenario we're going to remove the following features:
- All application servers except for Tomcat
- Desktop Utilities
- Image Editor
- Visual Swing Designer
- Visual VM Profiler
- ICE Faces
After configuration and a restart we'll only have the following MyEclipse features installed, which will precisely support our development technology selections in the example scenario:
- Database Tools
- Spring / Hibernate / JPA
- Web Services
After configuration the Dashboard looks like the screenshot in Figure 6.3, below.
Once all your changes are complete, selecting the "Apply changes..."
button will reconfigure MyEclipse as specified. A simple
set of status dialogs will display as you're walked through this
process. After completion you'll be asked to restart MyEclipse to
activate your changes, as shown in Figure 6.4.
After restart, MyEclipse will only contain the small set of features we've specified. However, if at any point in the future the development scenario changes and more features are needed, the Dashboard can quickly be used to recustomize your MyEclipse install as required.