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What is it ?

Headless Eclipse is an instance of Eclipse launched without Graphical User Interface, by command-line.

What for ?

You can use headless Eclipse to run a console application plugin for Eclipse. One of the purposes of such an operation, as seen with SQUANER, is to automatically delegate processing to Eclipse from a web application. Indeed, in order to create a PADL model of a C++ project, SQUANER let Eclipse parse the project and give its AST.

How to use it ?

First, create your plugin with Eclipse IDE, within the plugin development environment. In the plugin.xml file of your plugin (root lever of the project), give a specific id to your plugin. You should have a file like this:

<?xml version=“1.0” encoding=“UTF-8”?> <?eclipse version=“3.4”?> <plugin> <extension id=“Id_of_the_plugin” point=“org.eclipse.core.runtime.applications”> <application cardinality=“singleton-global” thread=“main” visible=“true”> <run class=“Package_name.Starting_class_name”> </run> </application> </extension> </plugin>

Then, download a second Eclipse which will be used to make the application run (it is the headless Eclipse). In Eclipse IDE, export your plugin (Right-Click on your plugin project > Export > Plug-in Development > Deployable plug-ins and framents). Check all needed plugins, and export them to the eclipse root folder of your headless Eclipse (the plugins will automatically be put in the plugins folder).

Finally, open a shell on the eclipse root folder of your headless Eclipse and use the following command:

java -cp plugins/org.eclipse.equinox.launcher_1.3.0.v20120522-1813.jar org.eclipse.equinox.launcher.Main -application Name_of_your_plugin_project.Id_of_the_plugin

Please note that the version of the jar archive may differ in the time; just check the name of the library eclipse/plugin/org.eclipse.equinox.launcher_* and modify the command consequently.

Known exceptions

Application Name_of_your_plugin_project.Id_of_the_plugin could not be found in the registry

If you see this error in the log file, after launching your headless application, in most cases it means you may have a dependendy issue. Check all the manifest files of your plugin projects and localize all needed resources. Let's remind than a plugin should only depend on other plugins. Not a Java project, not an external library… If you need to use a library, you can create a plugin from the library (in Eclipse IDE, right-click on the Package Exporer > New > Other > Plug-in Development > Plug-in from Existing JAR Archives). Then let your plugin depend on the freshly plug-ined library thanks to the Manifest > Dependencies tab > Required Plug-ins.


It happens that if you use the plugin automatic export, some archives do not contain the class definitions… One solution is to manually export a jar archive of the project with needed class definitions, and rename it to replace the empty archive. One anti-solution is to add the manually exported archive in the class path.

Created by angelino 2012/08/22 11:42

headless_eclipse.1345653022.txt.gz · Last modified: 2018/03/04 02:53 (external edit)