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Eclipse Rich Client Platform

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Published by: Addison-Wesley
ISBN: 0321603788

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One Minute Bottom Line

As an Eclipse RCP developer, this book is essential for a complete understanding of what you're building on. The second edition covers Eclipse 3.5 and provides much needed updates from the first edition. Pair this book with OSGi and Equinox, from the same EclipseRT series, and you have all you need to start your journey to becoming an expert in Eclipse application development.


The first edition of this book provided the definitive guide to getting started in RCP development. However, that book was based on Eclipse 3.1 and a lot has happened since then, so this update has been eagerly anticipated, and I'm happy to say that it doesn't disappoint. p2 is probably one of the most useful additions to the book - since the move from the traditional update site model to p2, a lot of developers have struggled to grasp p2. The chapter dedicated to installing and updating with p2 should clear up all questions that you may have about using the new installation mechanism. 

The book is split into five distinct parts. Part 1 introduces the Eclipse Rich Client Platform, explaining the core terminology and concepts. Part 2 starts the tutorial, introducing a sample application, the Hyperbola chat client application. I would highly recommend following through the whole tutorial, even if you are already proficient in RCP development. There's always something new to learn, and some of the newer Eclipse concepts are brought in throughout the tutorial. The tutorial starts from scratch, bringing you to packaging, adding help and using p2 for management of installation and updates.

Part 3 provides more detail into the workbench, including actions, commands (which are a replacement for actions) and workbench customisation through the presentation API. I found the chapter on Eclipse UI customisation to be one of the most useful, as it is one of the least covered areas of Eclipse RCP development on the web.

Part 4, Development Processes, gives full insights into p2, dynamic plug-ins, building and testing RCP applications. The testing section introduces SWTBot for automated UI tests.  The final section, Part 5, is a reference for OSGi, Eclipse Databinding and the Eclipse Ecosystem.

The book has a supporting site, http://eclipsercp.org, where you can find all the sample code used throughout. 

Over the last few years, Eclipse has been rapidly evolving, providing more and more functionality to RCP (Rich Client Platform) developers. As with any framework that grows at this pace, documentation hasn't been as good as it should have been, but finally Eclipse developers have a library that they can refer to for high quality examples and explanations.  With this book, OSGi & Equinox, and Eclipse Plug-ins, developers have the essential triology for Eclipse development.