I was recently asked about some pointers for automated building of plug-ins and RCP applications with PDE Build. For most people the obvious starting point is the "Build and Test Automation" article on the Eclipse Corner, which was written in the Eclipse 3.0 time-frame and is now dated. Read on for pointers to more recent information.
By the way, PDE Build is a collection of ant scripts and plug-in code that helps people do automated headless builds from the command line. It is also used behind the scenes when exporting plug-ins and is part of the Eclipse SDK (org.eclipse.pde.build plug-in).
Great PDE Build Resources
- For those that have a copy of the RCP book laying around, Chapter 24 - Building Hyperbola offers a good introduction and overview of PDE Build.
- The Eclipse Help has a number of entries regarding automated building. These can be found under "Plug-in Development Environment Guide > Tasks". Building an RCP application from a product configuration file, Building Features and Advanced PDE Build topics are good starting points.
- The slides from "PDE Build and build clinic" from EclipseCon 2007 have comprehensive coverage of most aspects of the PDE Build. After downloading the tutorial slides, unzip them and start with "PDE Build.ppt". Kudos to Andrew Niefer for making the slides available.
(As a side note, I would love to have the EclipseCon sessions available on DVD - like the DVDs from the JavaPolis conference. Every year I run across a few EclipseCon sessions I missed, which seem to be very useful for my current problem.)
- The PDE Build Screencast by J Aaron Faar is based on Eclipse 3.2. It runs 18 minutes and has a good overview of the various files involved in the build. Skip the low-resolution Google Video version and download pdebuild.zip from the SourceForge project page instead. This archive contains a high-resolution quick-time screencast (pdebuild_screencast.mov) as well as the sample code.
- The pluginbuilder is an Eclipse plug-in by Markus Barchfeld which comes with a form-based editor that makes dealing with the PDE Build configuration files really easy. The update site http://self.pluginbuilder.org/updateSite/ has an Eclipse 3.3 compatible version. You can also find a version for Eclipse 3.2 on the project's homepage.
- After automating the build, the next step often is automating existing jUnit tests with the Eclipse Test Framework. The Eclipse Testing Instructions will help you get started. At the end of that document you will find an Ant template which you can use as a starting point. The Automated Testing Framework can be downloaded from the platform download page.
Hard hat image: (c) 2007, topfer/stock.xchng