The workspace supports the notion of project natures
(or "natures" for short"). A nature associates lifecycle
behaviour with a project. Natures are installed on
a per-project basis using the setDescription method defined on
. They are
configured when added to a project and deconfigured
when removed from the project. For example, the Java nature
might install a Java builder and do other project
configuration when added to a project
The natures extension-point allows nature writers
to register their nature implementation under a
symbolic name that is then used from within the
workspace to find and configure natures.
The symbolic name is id of the nature extension. When
defining a nature extension, users are encouraged to include a
human-readable value for the "name" attribute which identifies
their meaning and potentially may be presented to users.
Natures can specify relationship constraints with other natures.
The "one-of-nature" constraint specifies that at most one nature
belong to a given set can exist on a project at any given time.
This enforces mutual exclusion between natures that are not compatible
with each other. The "requires-nature" constraint specifies a
dependency on another nature. When a nature is added to a project,
all required natures must also be added. The natures are guaranteed
to be configured and deconfigured in such a way that their required
natures will always be configured before them and deconfigured after
them. For this reason, cyclic dependencies between natures are not
Natures cannot be added to or removed from a project if that change would
violate any constraints that were previously satisfied. If a nature is
configured on a project, but later finds that its constraints are not
satisfied, that nature and all natures that require it are marked as
disabled, but remain on the project. This can happen, for example,
when a required nature goes missing from the install. Natures that are
missing from the install, and natures involved in dependency cycles are
also marked as disabled.
Natures can also specify which incremental project builders, if any, are
configured by them. With this information, the workspace will ensure that
builders will only run when their corresponding nature is present and
enabled on the project being built. If a nature is removed from a project,
but the nature's deconfigure method fails to remove its corresponding builders,
the workspace will remove those builders from the spec automatically. It
is not permitted for two natures to specify the same incremental project builder
in their markup.
Natures also have the ability to disallow the creation of linked resources on projects they are associated with. By setting the
allowLinking attribute to "false", a nature can declare that linked resources should never be created. This feature is new in release 2.1.
Starting with release 3.1, natures can declare affinity
with arbitrary content types, affecting the way content
type determination happens for files in the workspace.
In case of conflicts (two or more content types deemed
equally suitable for a given file), the content type having affinity with any of the natures configured for the corresponding project will be chosen.
<!ELEMENT extension (
runtime , (
point CDATA #REQUIRED
id CDATA #REQUIRED
name CDATA #IMPLIED
point - a fully qualified identifier of the target extension point
id - The simple identifier of the nature. This is appended to the plug-in id to form the fully qualified nature id.
name - an optional name of the extension instance
<!ELEMENT runtime (
<!ELEMENT run (
class CDATA #REQUIRED
class - the fully-qualified name of a class which implements
<!ELEMENT parameter EMPTY>
name CDATA #REQUIRED
value CDATA #REQUIRED
name - the name of this parameter made available to instances of the specified nature class
value - an arbitrary value associated with the given name and made available to instances of the specificed nature class
<!ELEMENT one-of-nature EMPTY>
id CDATA #REQUIRED
id - the name of an exclusive project nature category.
<!ELEMENT requires-nature EMPTY>
id IDREF #REQUIRED
id - the fully-qualified id of another nature extension that this nature extension requires.
<!ELEMENT builder EMPTY>
id IDREF #REQUIRED
id - the fully-qualified id of an incremental project builder extension that this nature controls.
<!ELEMENT options EMPTY>
allowLinking (true | false)
allowLinking - an option to specify whether this nature allows the creation of linked resources. By default, linking is allowed.
<!ELEMENT content-type EMPTY>
id IDREF #REQUIRED
id - the fully-qualified id of a content type associated to this nature.
Following is an example of three nature configurations. The
waterNature and fireNature belong
to the same exclusive set, so they cannot co-exist on the same
project. The snowNature requires
waterNature, so snowNature will be disabled on a project that
is missing waterNature. It
naturally follows that snowNature cannot be enabled on a project
with fireNature. The fireNature also doesn't allow the creation of linked resources.
If these extensions were defined in a plug-in with id "com.xyz.coolplugin", the fully qualified name
of these natures would be "com.xyz.coolplugin.fireNature", "com.xyz.coolplugin.waterNature" and
The platform itself does not have any predefined natures.
Particular product installs may include natures as required.
Copyright (c) 2002, 2005 IBM Corporation and others.
All rights reserved. This program and the accompanying materials are made
available under the terms of the Eclipse Public License v1.0 which
this distribution, and is available at