One of my main reasons for switching to Eclipse was its plug-in architecture and the growing number of plug-ins. There is a very large number of plugins and that's good and bad. It's good because there is no lack of choices. It's bad because it takes time to sort through and find the good and the stable ones.
What plug-ins you will find interesting depends largely on what you need to do. What I've done in this article is to list a few of the ones I find are worth knowing and using. All of them are free.
Adding and Removing Plug-ins
Installing a plug-in is equally simple - it requires unzipping a file to Eclipse's plugins directory (e.g. C:\eclipse\plugins). To remove a plug-in, delete it from the plugins directory and restart Eclipse.
Eclipse also provides a more automated mechanism for finding and installing plug-ins. To try it out check the wizard under Help > Software Updates > Find and Install.
There is also a third option. Some plug-ins have an actual install program. This is often the case of existing tools that have been adapted for use inside Eclipse. Such plug-ins may have most of their files installed in some other location such as C:\Program Files in Windows.
To see what plug-ins are currently installed in Eclipse go to Help > About Eclipse SDK > Plug-in Details.
If you don't see a plug-in there and you think it should be try restarting Eclipse. If that doesn't work try using the -clean runtime option by modifying the shortcut you use to start the Eclipse executable.
Here is the list:
- XMLBuddy - a basic, good XML editor with content assist, syntax coloring and document validation. There is also a PRO version with more advanced features. Personally I like using the Outline view where I can expand and collapse the structure of an XML document. XML documents are readable but it's easy to get lost as they get longer and more nested.
- Checkstyle Plug-in - a code analyzer to ensure Java code aheres to coding standards. Checkstyle errors and warnings appear visually in the editor and in the Problems view just like any other compiler warnings and errors.
- JadClipse - a Java decompiler, allows automatic decompilation of Java classes with no source code available.
- more to come...