Eclipse HelpIf you're using Eclipse 3.3, the advice in the 2006 edition of The Book about enabling Help in your Eclipse RCP applications is no longer quite accurate. Section 13.2 ("Getting the Help Plug-ins") tells you to install lots of things, while my experimentation has shown that all you need are the following plug-ins in your target platform and any launch configuration, plus their dependencies:
The dependencies, all of which you can copy from the plugins folder of your Eclipse installation to your target platform, are as follows:
Editing and DebuggingFor some things, Eclipse needs source plug-ins to be present in the target platform location, not just in the installation location.I have not yet established all the circumstances under which this may be the case, but I have found that if you are trying to use the special-purpose editor to work on a plugin.xml file, unless the source plug-ins are present in the target platform location, when you right-click on an extension point in the Extensions tab you won't see the correct extension types in the context menu (just "Generic").
To support the most common types of UI extension, such as menu entries, copy the source plug-ins for org.eclipse.platform and org.eclipse.rcp from your Eclipse plugins folder into the target platform (hint: they are folders!). It is not even necessary to select them when specifying the target platform in Eclipse Preferences, but does no harm.
Source organisationIt turns out that the line of least resistance is to separate your plug-ins and features into two groups:
- All the stuff you have access to in source form directly from its repository
- Everything else - basically the Eclipse and third-party stuff
For the first category, I recommend setting up your source folder structure to match the output in the build directory.
- product root
Ignore the features supplied with the Eclipse SDK, RCP Runtime and Delta Pack. Instead, define your own features to include just the plug-ins on which your application depends. It helps to factorise this into a half-dozen features that collect Eclipse plug-ins for various capabilities - e.g. the feature com.example.myproject.help.feature could be used to list all the plug-ins shown above that are needed to provide application help. Then if you want to include help with an application, all it has to do is list this feature in its application feature.xml as an included feature (of course you still have to write the help texts and create a help plug-in to contain them!).