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Eclipse Platform Plug-in Development Environment Guide
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Plug-in Development Environment Overview

The Plug-in Development Environment (PDE) provides tools to create, develop, test, debug, build and deploy Eclipse plug-ins, fragments, features, update sites and RCP products.

PDE also provides comprehensive OSGi tooling, which makes it an ideal environment for component programming, not just Eclipse plug-in development.

PDE is broken into three main components:

  • UI - A rich set of models, tools and editors to develop plug-ins and OSGi bundles
  • API Tooling - Tooling to assist API documentation and maintenence
  • Build - Ant based tools and scripts to automate build processes

Discover the latest features in the What's New section.


PDE UI provides a editors, wizards, launchers, views and other tools to create a full featured environment to develop and deploy Eclipse plug-ins, fragments, features, update sites, RCP products and OSGi bundles.

Some of the PDE tools include:

  • Form-Based Manifest Editors: Multi-page editors that centrally manage all manifest files of a plug-in or feature.
  • RCP Tools: Wizards and a form-based editor that allow you to define, brand, test and export products to multiple platforms.
  • New Project Creation Wizards: Create a new plug-in, fragment, feature, feature patch and update sites.
  • Import Wizards: Import plug-ins and features from the file system.
  • Export Wizards: Wizards that build, package and export plug-ins, fragments and products with a single click.
  • Launchers: Test and debug Eclipse applications and OSGi bundles.
  • Views: PDE provides views that help plug-in developers inspect different aspects of their development environment.
  • Miscellaneous Tools: Wizards to externalize and clean up manifest files.
  • Conversion Tools: Wizard to convert a plain Java project or plain JARs into a plug-in project.
  • Integration with JDT: Plug-in manifest files participate in Java search and refactoring.

To get started, try out the following cheat sheets:

    Open plug-in cheat sheet Creating an Eclipse Plug-in Open RCP cheat sheet Creating a Rich Client Application

PDE API Tooling

PDE API Tooling assists in the documentation and maintenance of APIs provided by plug-ins and OSGi bundles.

Some of the features include:

  • Compatibility Analysis : Identify binary compatibility issues relative to a previous version of a plug-in.
  • API Restriction Tags : Javadoc tags are provided to explicitly define restrictions associated with types and members.
  • Version Number Validation : Identify invalid plug-in version numbers relative to a previous version of a plug-in.
  • Javadoc @since Tag Validation : Identify missing and invalid @since tags on types and members.
  • API Leak Analysis : Identify API types and methods that leak non-API types.
  • Quick Fixes : Quick fixes are provided to adjust plug-in versions and @since tags appropriately.

To get started, see the tasks:

PDE Build

PDE Build facilitates the automation of plug-in build processes. PDE Build produces Ant scripts based on development-time information provided by, for example, the plugin.xml and files. The generated Ant scripts, can fetch the relevant projects from a CVS repository, build jars, Javadoc, source zips, put everything together in a format ready to ship and send it out to a remote location (e.g., a local network or a downloads server).

To get started, see the following:

  Published under the terms of the Eclipse Public License Version 1.0 ("EPL") Design by Interspire