Getting Eclipse Preferences Under Control in Teams at EclipseCon 2011

Michael began his talk remainding us that Eclipse configuration lies everywhere :

  • eclipse.ini
  • configuration/eclipse.ini
  • /home/.eclipse
  • .metadata/
  • $project/.settings/
  • runtime option -vmargs …

Michael recommends the audience to try to configure as much as possible preferences on project level.

You can manage team preferences documenting them in a wiki , but it is boring for the user, and also very hard to maintain.

Or you can use Eclipse EPF files (Eclipse Preference File), that you can import manually using the import wizard, but same drawback as wiki documentation, people forget about it.

Better than that, you can manage EPF files with one of those 3 tools :

  • Eclipse Team etceteras, is a plugin that can do automatic and manual EPF import over HTTP ,set preference between workspace, and tells the user if he has not imported the EPF, suggesting him to download it
  • Another tool, workspace mechanic, it is a task oriented configuration engine(using Groovy, Java, or other); thing it is file system based, no possibility to transfer preferences through HTTP
  • Bug 334016 (Common preferences), it is an automatic EPF import over HTTP, without asking the user if he wants it

Which one to choose ?

  • just importing through HTTP, use ETE,
  • if EPF are not enough for you, use Workspace Mechanic
  • need enforcement ? use Common preferences

Then we had a demo of ETE, starting eclipse in a new workspace, a dialog appeared to suggest the user to import the preferences; then changing workspace, there was a dialog to copy settings and preferences.