How do I externalize my Eclipse plugins?
Author: Deron Eriksson
Description: This tutorial describes how to externalize Eclipse plug-ins.
Tutorial created using: Windows XP || JDK 1.5.0_09 || Eclipse Web Tools Platform 1.5.1
It can be useful to 'externalize' the plug-ins that you have added to EclipseSW. One way of adding plug-ins to Eclipse is to simply download a plug-in and drop it in your Eclipse plug-ins directory (ie, 'C:\eclipse-web-1.5.1\plugins').
However, there are problems with adding plug-ins in this fashion. To begin with, it can be difficult to tell which plug-ins you've added to Eclipse, and which plug-ins came with Eclipse. For example, with the Eclipse WTP installation mentioned above, there are 375 folders and jarW files within the 'C:\eclipse-web-1.5.1\plugins' directory! Also, if you ever install another version of Eclipse (such as eclipse-web-1.5.2), it can be a painful process to go through your plugins directory to figure out which plugins you want to copy/paste over into the new plugins directory.
One solution to these problems is to 'externalize' your plug-ins to a separate directory outside of your Eclipse installation directory. In your 'C:\projects' directory, create an 'extensions' directory. Inside this directory, create an 'eclipse' directory. Within this directory, create a 'features' directory and a 'plugins' directory.
We also need a '.eclipseextension' blank file within the 'C:\projects\extensions\eclipse' directory that we created. If you try creating a file with no name and just an extension using Windows Explorer, you'll probably see a message like the following:
So how do we create a file on Windows that is just an extension? There are different ways, but a quick way is to give the file a name and extension, and then open up a command prompt and 'rename' the file to have just an extension:
(Continued on page 2)