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Eclipse Plug-ins (Your Chance to Win A Copy)

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Published by: Addison-Wesley Professional
ISBN: 0321553462

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One Minute Bottom Line

Whether you use this book as an introduction to plug-in development, or as a primer, it remains the definitive book for Eclipse plug-in developers. Everything is explained clearly and with thorough examples to ensure that everyone who is interested in writing applications for the desktop will be able to understand how to use Eclipse as a platform for their programs.

This book is essential for all developers interested in extending the Eclipse platform or any other platform that supports Eclipse plug-ins. It is my “desert island” development book – it never leaves my side.


Chapter 1 introduces Eclipse to the readers, including all the new capabilities of Eclipse 3.4.  An overview of Mylyn is provided – while not part of the core, it is a very popular developer tool, and as such a clever addition. If you are new to Eclipse this is essential to read, as it introduces all of the core Eclipse concepts such as the Workbench, Perspectives, Views and Editors. As these are terms used throughout the book, knowledge of these concepts is essential.  This chapter is more about developing using Eclipse than being focussed on any coding for plug-in creation.

Chapter 2 brings you straight into the action with a simple plug-in example, illustrating the Plug-in Development Environment (PDE), how to use plugin.xml and how to deploy your plug-in.
To find out more about the background of the Eclipse architecture, chapter 3 gives you what you need, covering Eclipse Infrastructure and helping with the understanding of plug-in dependencies, extension points and OSGi.

For standalone development, SWT (Standard Widget Toolkit) can be used as a replacement for Swing. This was how I started out in my journey to Eclipse plug-in development. The SWT Widgets chapter gives a detailed view into how SWT widgets and layout managers work. Knowledge of this area is also essential for plug-in development. Chapter 5 follows up on this, covering JFace Viewers, providing OO wrappers around the basic SWT widgets. If you're developing lists, tables or trees, this will be an essential chapter to read.

The first half of Chapter 6 is entirely devoted to the Eclipse Command Framework, which replaced the older Action framework. This chapter helps developers who are migrating to the new command framework by providing the same examples in the second half of the chapter with Actions. This is the best overview of Commands that I have read anywhere. Views and Editors and Perspectives are covered in the following two chapters with more detailed examples.

Chapter 11 discusses Dialogs in the first half of the chapter, with the second half focusing on Wizards. This is an interesting approach, allowing a comparison of the suitability of either of the technologies to your own use case.

Other useful chapters include a chapter on Builders, Markers and Natures – essential if you are planning to extend Eclipse to provide some sort of IDE functionality. The chapter on the Help system is the most complete view you will see on the different aspects to providing user assistance in Eclipse, with the Internationalization chapter helping you to make your code handle difference languages and locales.

Building and product branding is explained, along with p2 update site creation description, another new addition in Eclipse 3.4.

Without doubt, my favourite chapter in the book is the introduction to GEF (Graphical Editing Framework). This is a notoriously under-covered aspect of Eclipse, but one of the most useful technologies if you need to go beyond traditional form-based applications.

Each chapter includes a section on the IBM Ready for Rational Software (RFRS) certification which ensures the availability of high quality add-ons to Eclipse and the IBM Software Development Platform. The highlighted certification criteria and strategies are very useful if you are aiming to achieve this certification.


Free Book Offer! Enter our DZone competition to win a free copy of Eclipse Plug-ins by submitting a comment on a previous edition and why you liked it, or what it is that interests you most about this book. We will then randomly select a winner based on the entries received by 31 January, 2009.


Bertrand Gillis replied on Mon, 2009/01/19 - 2:10am

well, I have not worked with Eclipse Plugins Architecture yet. I simply have to learn ;-)

Lars Hermes replied on Mon, 2009/01/19 - 3:18am

I've got a lot of scripts and manual tasks beside my eclipse ide which I'd like to integrate in some plugins into eclipse - but until now I haven't found the time and knowledge to do this. May the book will be the initial "kick" to start the realization of my ideas.

Peter Schuebl replied on Mon, 2009/01/19 - 3:59am

I started my first Eclipse RCP project without knowing much about the Eclipse eco system.
It's incredible how many things you can get wrong :-)

The book (Eclipse: Building Commercial-Quality Plug-Ins) helped me a lot to understand what I had been struggeling before. Great to finally see an update for the most recent Eclipse version!!!

Pavol Pitonak replied on Mon, 2009/01/19 - 4:57am

I know NetBeans a bit and now it's time to learn Eclipse too.

Heiko Mausolf replied on Mon, 2009/01/19 - 5:18am

I have just received my copy of this book. It is not that writing an RCP application seems to be a particularly easy task, but having this book by my side, I feel much more confident to handle its complexity. I have only skimmed through the TOC and put my nose into some randomly selected chapters, but it seems to be unlikely that there is much to know about Eclipse plug-ins that isn't covered. Great book, thumbs up!

Stephan Huth replied on Mon, 2009/01/19 - 8:43am

I am right now evaluating OSGi as a basis of a plugin-based application. Together with the interesting extension point mechansim I hope to get some basic concepts and ideas of how dynamicly extensible application looks like. ;-)

Sandeep Khurana replied on Mon, 2009/01/19 - 9:24am


I had got the previous version. There were some minor inconistensies in terms of UI given in the book and which I saw in eclipse (like manifest.mf, plugin editors). Though was not difficult to find the way out with the help of book. Also, It would have helped me a lot if eclipse objects like IWorkspace, IProject etc are given at the begninning itself..more like a cheatsheet with just 1 liner description and maybe an example each. 

I had created the plugin to check out,setup workspace, create datasources in server and creating db etc for my work.


Christian Kreut... replied on Mon, 2009/01/19 - 9:31am

I am using OSGi right now. This in in combination with RCP very useful and interesting. The previous edition gave a really full insight in RCP development.

diego Visentin replied on Mon, 2009/01/19 - 10:16am

About first edition: it was an incredible source of knowledge for us and a very good educational support for new programmers that approached Eclipse plugin development.

Thanks to the authors.

Hantsy Bai replied on Mon, 2009/01/19 - 11:25am

A good book for eclipse plugin development and eclipse RCP development.

Rahul Thakur replied on Mon, 2009/01/19 - 11:33am

What interests me is the application of OSGi to Eclipse Plugins architecture, Command Framework and GEF. Its a bonus that this book covers the latest release.  


Thamizh Arasu replied on Mon, 2009/01/19 - 11:18pm

Well. Initially i had no idea on how to write a plug-in with eclipse. That time i found this book. So i had a chance to read this book. Once after i successfully wrote my first plug-in. This was my great achievement. This credit should go to the authors.

 I hope the same experience will be passed over from this edition also.



Java Bean replied on Tue, 2009/01/20 - 2:19am

The Eclipse Plugins book helped me in my professional work and also 2 open source projects with Eclipse plugins.

Lukas Zapletal replied on Tue, 2009/01/20 - 3:59am

I work with Eclipse RCP and Platform for 3 years and I am still lost sometimes. Its huge.

Luk Kals replied on Tue, 2009/01/20 - 4:57am

Great book! especially for new eclipse plug-in developers!! can't wait to read the GEF introduction...

Alexander Shirkov replied on Tue, 2009/01/20 - 6:29am

This "free" book looks like advertising. Please, choose correct headings - you're actually SELLING book for positive feedback. It's not free.

Best regards.

Christian Voller replied on Wed, 2009/01/21 - 1:14am

I am also interessted in GEF! And all about OSGi-Equinox!


hafe lee replied on Wed, 2009/01/21 - 1:51am


Stephan Hodges replied on Wed, 2009/01/21 - 2:09am

I purchased the first edition several years ago because it used a "business viewpoint" approach to making real applications, and not just small (and somewhat useless) examples.

What I would expect from a 3rd edition, and why I would buy it is an overhaul of content to bring it up to date, with new areas focusing on current trends in Web 2.0, better lightweight applications, etc.

What I want most, however, is an electronic version of the book, because I travel alot in my work, and wish to have better reference material available on my laptop.

Carsten Nikiel replied on Wed, 2009/01/21 - 5:19am

Starting with nearly no knowledge about Eclipse Plugin Development the second edition gave me enough know how to easily create my first plugin.

Since that  day I use it as a reference.
Getting more and more outdated I am looking forward for the 3rd edition.

Especially the OSGI pieces sounds very interesting.

Girish Ahankari replied on Fri, 2009/01/23 - 9:08am

Never worked on Eclipse Plugins as yet.

Hope to use this book as a tool to learn writing my own eclipse plugins :-)

Dan Turkenkopf replied on Sat, 2009/01/24 - 7:56pm

In the past I've attempted to develop a fairly involved Eclipse plugin and haven't gotten very far because of the level of the documentation.  Seeing what's covered in this book makes me believe that it's the right resource to allow me to try again.

Marcelo Castoldi replied on Tue, 2009/01/27 - 7:42am

I started to work with Eclipse plugins but it doesn't worked for me, then I got the first edition of the book, and it worked :-) I made too much mistakes before. I think the second edition will be better.

Marcin Kowalski replied on Wed, 2009/01/28 - 6:40pm

started with rcp 2 years ago and in fact, at that time I found eclipse rcp book to be simplier

however,  now eclipse plug-ins is the most important reference

CHRISTIAN AVRIl replied on Thu, 2009/01/29 - 9:58am

I started first with another IDEs. Then, starting with Eclipse, I had no idea what Plug-in details , or perspective was, and another things like this. I was a great thing to have a book , a guide for the person using the product. Because you can't always watch on your browser.

kou jian replied on Sun, 2009/02/15 - 8:29am

it is so good

rama krishna replied on Mon, 2009/02/23 - 9:15am

started learning eclipse

CHRISTIAN AVRIl replied on Sat, 2009/03/07 - 4:05am

And The Winner Is ?

James Sugrue replied on Mon, 2009/03/09 - 2:40am in response to: CHRISTIAN AVRIl

Hi Winners are listed here : http://eclipse.dzone.com/announcements/free-book-winner-announced James

Abakar Mahammed replied on Mon, 2009/08/31 - 11:50am

Hi i have very interested in this book, because i want lern how to develop my own plugin and the RCP.

I have looked in internet but i didn't find good examples for lerning RCP and many developer recomanded this book.

I hope that i would win this book, I like it. Many Thanks

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