On disk, an Eclipse based product is structured as a collection of plug-ins.
Each plug-in contains the code that provides some of the product's
functionality. The code and other files for a plug-in are installed on the local
computer, and get activated automatically as required. A product's plug-ins are
grouped together into features. A feature is a unit of separately downloadable and installable
The fundamentally modular nature of the Eclipse platform makes it easy
to install additional features and plug-ins into an Eclipse based
product, and to update the product's existing features and plug-ins. You
can do this using the Eclipse platform's install and update support found
in the Help menu. Eclipse allows you to discover, download, and install features and
plug-ins from special web-based Eclipse software sites.
Large Eclipse based products can organize their features into trees starting
from the root feature that represents the entire product. This root feature then
includes smaller units of functionality all the way down to leaf features that
list one or more plug-ins and fragments. The capability to group features
hierarchically allows products to be stacked using a 'Russian doll' approach - a
large product can build on top of a smaller one by including it and adding more
Some included features may be useful add-ons, but are not vital to the proper
functioning of the overall product. Feature providers can elect to mark them as optional.
Optional features will only be installed if all their required features and plug-ins are
available. If not installed right away, optional features can be added at a later date.
The About option on the Help menu provides information
about installed features and plug-ins. The Check for Updates
and Install New Software commands on the Help menu provide the ability to update
existing features, and to find, download, and install new features.
Installation Details for Features
Installation Details for Plug-ins
Updating the installation
Installing new software
Reverting to a previous install configuration