Posted on Jul 9th 2010

From the how-to desk of Jens Eckels

MyEclipse provides users unmatched ease when it comes to customizing, configuring and managing development tooling. Today, we'll look at a few ways users can update and customize MyEclipse (powered by Pulse).

  1. Adding plugins from the MyEclipse Configuration Center catalog
  2. Adding plugins from an update site
  3. Adding plugins using the drop-in folder
  4. Updating MyEclipse and additional plugins

1. Adding Plug-ins from the MyEclipse Configuration Center Catalog

The easiest way to add additional plug-ins to MyEclipse is through the built-in software catalog within the MyEclipse Configuration Center. To open the Configuration Center go to "Help > MyEclipse Configuration Center" as shown.

After the MyEclipse Configuration Center opens you will see a Software tab which displays your current MyEclipse configuration. Additionally, the Software tab enables you to add additional plug-ins into your MyEclipse installation from either the software catalog or from local or remote update sites.

If you know the name of the plug-in you'd like to add you can simply type it into the Search area and hit the Enter key. However, we'll assume you don't know the exact plug-in you're looking for, but instead want to use the built-in catalog to browse. Browsing by category can be done by simply selecting "Browse Categories" and drilling down to the level you're interested in. As an example we're going to install the AnyEdit Tools by clicking on it in the listing, and then right-clicking to select "Add to profile..."

If there are any additional plug-ins you'd like to add, from either the catalog or update sites, you can add any combination of them at this time. Since changes to the plug-in configuration will require a restart, it's most efficient to make all your changes at once then apply them all simultaneously.

Once all of your additions and changes are complete, you must then select the "Apply changes" button to download the software, accept any additional license agreements, complete the installation, and restart MyEclipse. A simple set of status dialogs will display as you're walked through this process. After completion you'll be asked to restart MyEclipse to activate your changes.

Now that you have added plug-ins using the catalog within the MyEclipse Configuration Center, we'll look at how you can add an update site to your configuration so you can add plug-ins that are not included in the catalog.

2. Adding Plug-ins from an Update Site

Adding a plug-in to MyEclipse using an update site can also easily be done from the MyEclipse Configuration Center. We'll begin by selecting "Help > MyEclipse Configuration Center", selecting the Software tab, and clicking the 'add site' link.

After selecting "add site" you will be able to configure the update site location and provide a description as shown. Please note that the default dialog is configured for remote update sites that you access using a URL since this type of site is the most often used. If you have a local update site on your machine or an archived update site in a zip archive those can be used as well by selecting the "Add from Local Folder" or "Add from Archive File" links in the dialog instead of entering the name and URL. However, for the example we'll be using the public update site for CheckStyle so we've filled in the URL and description for it below.

Once you press "OK" you'll return to the Software tab. Next, expand the update site you just added and select the plug-ins you'd like to add to MyEclipse by right-clicking on each of them and selecting "Add to profile..." If there are any additional plug-ins you'd like to add, from either the catalog or update sites, you can add any combination of them at this time.

You'll note that "Eclipse Checkstyle Plug-in" is listed twice on the update site. If you select each of them you'll see the description explains that one is version 4 and the other is version 5. In this example, we're choosing to install version 5 only. After adding the plug-in to the profile you'll see it listed as a pending change.

Once all your changes are complete, select the "Apply changes..." button to download the software, accept any additional license agreements, complete the installation, and restart MyEclipse.

Now that you have learned to add plug-ins from both the catalog and an update site, please see the next section for details of installing plug-ins using the dropins folder.

3. Installing Plug-ins Using the Dropins Folder

In this section we'll look at how to install additional plug-ins using the dropins folder within your MyEclipse installation directory. Note that this facility is primarily provided for backward compatibility to support plug-ins for which no traditional update site is available. If either a catalog entry or update site is available for the plug-in you wish to add then using the methods described in Section 1 or Section 2 is highly recommended instead.

The dropins folder is used from outside of MyEclipse so you must first shutdown MyEclipse (if running) and then open your file explorer and navigate to the dropins folder under the MyEclipse directory. The dropins folder should be completely empty at this point.

Next navigate to the zipped plug-in you'd like to install and extract it to the dropins folder within your MyEclipse installation directory.

After you extract the file, your folder tree should look something like this. Please be sure that the "features" and "plugins" folders are immediate children of the dropins folder or the plug-ins will not be recognized when MyEclipse is started.

Now, to test that the plug-ins were successfully added we'll need to start MyEclipse. Upon startup, MyEclipse will automatically check the dropins folder, add any plug-ins it finds there, and report the status of the additional plug-ins with a dialog like this.

Now that you've successfully installed the new plug-ins through the dropins mechanism you can immediately begin using them within MyEclipse. For this particular example you can see that the Drools perspective is now available within MyEclipse's perspective list.

4. Updating MyEclipse and Additional Plug-ins

Installing updates to either MyEclipse components or external plug-ins is easily done in the same way, through the Dashboard tab of the MyEclipse Configuration Center. To check for updates simply lauch MyEclipse and open the MyEclipse Configuration Center by selecting "Help > MyEclipse Configuration Center".

Once the MyEclipse Configuration Center opens, selecting the Software tab will show you the current configuration of your installation as well as whether any updates are available for MyEclipse or any installed plug-ins. The update status is displayed in the "Software Updates Available" section.

In this example installation, no updates are currently available. However, if one or more plug-ins had pending updates then they would be listed in the highlighted area with corresponding checkboxes so that you could indicate which of the updates you wanted to install. Each checked update would increase the number of "Pending Changes" available for the installation and would be applied only when selected "Apply changes..." as you saw in the other sections of this tutorial.

If you have any questions, please leave them here, or in the MyEclipse forums.

Thanks, for reading,