Sunday, July 4, 2010

Extend Eclipse in JavaScript... or PHP :-)

The JavaScript unit tests view for Eclipse I blogged last time, wouldn't be anything special, unless you're JavaScript guy. Except the fact that it's implemented in plain HTML+JavaScript for GUI part and business logic.
Ah.. and it uses jQuery too, so I think I can label the view as an example of jQuery plugins for Eclipse :-)

This has several advantages:
- I don't need to know Java to extend Eclipse. This is great for such Eclipse IDE users as JavaScript, or PHP developers.
- many things are easier to calculate in web languages, than Java. E.g. (running JS tests, running a web poll, etc.)
- writing simple UI in HTML is dead easy. and you can use CSS :-)

The main disadvantage is difficult communication with workbench. Java APIs are complicated and hard to map 1:1 in JavaScript, however for start I'm looking at exposing only few most useful features, like selection service.

The inner workings are pretty simple. Some HTML is rendered by browser widget embedded in traditonal Java Eclipse view. Additionally, JSON and Ajax are used to keep HTML view informed what's going on in the Eclipse workbench.

I know that e4 open social is working on something similar, however how do the gadgets communicate with Workbench?

Wish me luck with final efforts on releasing Zend Studio, and you'll see more of this HTML/JS/PHP plugins :-)


  1. source code can be found in CVS at org.eclipse.atf/components/plugins in directories:,,

  2. This is pretty cool Jack, thumbs up!