Building the rich client target platform with Eclipse 4.6

Written July 2nd, 2016 by

Few days ago the new Eclipse 4.6 “Neon” was released and as usual when a new update is released, I started to build the target platform required to develop rich client applications (RCP). The unhappy surprise was that the delta pack file containing the plugins and binary launchers for all supported operating systems, is no more available from the downloads page. Few years ago one of the packages useful to build a target platform, the platform sdk, was removed from the downloads. Not a big problem, it can be extracted from the standard Eclipse SDK package removing the unnecessary features and plugins with a bit of work, then adding the delta pack to enable the multi platform export options. Today without the delta pack, this is not possible anymore.

One user on the ecliplse.platform.rcp newsgroup addressed me to the wiki page dedicated to the options available to build a rich client application https://wiki.eclipse.org/Building and containing the instructions to add the multi platform support to existing targets. Initially I tought about updating my build system to use Tycho since it is the suggested method, but all I got was a lot of dependencies errors from Tycho itself, maven or who knows what and I wasn’t even able to build the reference example projects. I’ll be back on this later, for now I’ll stick with pde build and ant scripts.

Starting from the wiki page instructions and after few failed attempts I was able to build a fairly complete target platform using the following steps:

  • Open Window / Preferences.
  • Find Plug-in Development / Target Platform
  • Click Add
  • Select “Nothing: Start with an empty target definition”
  • Click Next
  • Click Add
  • Select “Software Site”
  • Click Next
  • In “Work With” type: http://download.eclipse.org/eclipse/updates/4.6
  • Uncheck “Group by Category”
  • Check “Eclipse Platform SDK”
  • Check “Eclipse Platform Launcher Executables”
  • Check “EMF – Eclipse Modeling Framework Core Runtime”
  • Check “EMF Common”
  • Check “ECF Core Feature”
  • Check “ECF Core SSL Feature”
  • Check “ECF Filetransfer Feature”
  • Check “ECF Filetransfer SSL Feature”
  • Check “ECF Httpclient4 Filetransfer Provider”
  • Check “ECF Httpclient4 Filetransfer SSL Provider”
  • Uncheck “Include required software”
  • Check “Include all environments”
  • Press Finish
  • Press Finish
  • Press OK

The target platform is created in the current workspace so you need to repeat the steps for each workspace used to build rich client applications, or it is possible to save the target configuration to a .target file for later use with the “Share” button.