Glossary of terms
It can be confusing when one person refers to the same thing with different
terms, and downright misleading if they refer to different things using
the same term. That's why it's important to choose the right words when
referring to things in comments, code, and documentation.
Eclipse is the name for the overall project supporting the
construction of integrated tools for developing applications. It represents
a collection of related
that include the
Eclipse Platform, the
Java development tools
Plug-in Development Environment (PDE).
Eclipse Platform is the name for the core frameworks
and services upon which plug-in extensions are created. It provides the
runtime in which plug-ins are loaded and run. In order to use the term
with the right degree of (im)precision, it is useful to know some things
about the Platform. First off, the Eclipse Platform itself is not really
a true product that would ship by itself. The Platform's direct consumers
are tool builders, or ISVs, since they add the value to the Eclipse Platform
that makes it useful to people.
The Eclipse Platform is divided up into Core and UI.
Anything classified as "UI" needs a window system, whereas things classified
as "Core" can run "headless". The UI portion of the Eclipse Platform is
known as the
Workbench. The core portion of the
Eclipse Platform is simply called the
So the Eclipse Platform is just the nucleus around which tool builders
build tool plug-ins.
The Eclipse SDK is the
In addition to the Platform, the SDK provides the development tools required
to, among other things, enable Eclipse to be a development environment
Platform - Short for "
Rich Client Platform (RCP)
A subset of the
Platform that forms a generic application framework,
rather than a framework for building development tools. This subset does
not contain the Resources plug-in, or any UI relating to resources.
Workbench - Short for "Eclipse Platform
The Workbench is a high-level UI framework for building products
with sophisticated UIs built from pluggable components. The Workbench is
SWT, and the
- Short for "Eclipse Platform Core".
All the UI-free infrastructure of the
Platform. The major divisions are: platform runtime and plug-in management,
workspaces and resource management, and version and configuration management.
- Short for "Eclipse Platform Core
The lowest level part of the
responsible for the plug-in registry and plug-ins. Note that the Platform
Core Runtime does not include workspaces and resources (they're in the
A workspace is the general umbrella for managing resources
in the Eclipse Platform. Note that workspaces and resources are an optional
part of the Platform; some configurations of the Platform will not have
- Short for "Eclipse Platform UI".
All-inclusive term for the UI portion of the
JFace is the mid-level UI framework useful for building complex
UI pieces such as property viewers. JFace works in conjunction with
SWT (Standard Widget Toolkit) is a small, fast widget toolkit
with a portable API and a native implementation. So far, SWT has been ported
to Windows, Linux (GTK and Motif window systems), AIX (Motif), Solaris (GTK),
HP-UX (Motif), QNX (Photon) and Mac OS X (Carbon).
Java development tools (n.b. "development tools" in
lowercase, for legal reasons) adds Java program development capability to the
The Plug-in Development Environment adds specialized tools for
developing Eclipse plug-ins.