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Macs, Modularity and More

Maclipse and Maclipse-Lite available

2006, eclipse, mac

After promising to provide a decent Mac OS X package of the Eclipse SDK, I finally got around to preparing one based on Eclipse 3.2M6. I’ve uploaded the files to SourceForge; you can get the download from sourceforge. There’s two versions that you can download:

Maclipse-3.2M6.dmg
The full Eclipse SDK for 3.2M6 (119Mb)
Maclipse-Lite-3.2M6.dmg
A cut-down version that includes no source or help files (48Mb)

Why would you want to download these? Well, the -Lite version has all the functionality of the Eclipse version, except that there’s no source for the plugins and there’s no help pages. After all, you’re an Eclipse guru, right? You already know all this stuff… Besides which, there’s no reason that an Eclipse IDE needs to set you back 120Mb of downloads, when it can fit into a paltry 48Mb. That’s just under the Netbeans 5.0 size of 53Mb for the Mac OS X download (though I don’t know if this contains sources or help).

The difference between the Maclipse release and the Eclipse.org Eclipse SDK is that the Maclipse is bundled as a proper Mac application. That means not only is it served in a DMG file, it’s a single .app that can be dragged anywhere on your system. There’s no extra detritus directories kicking around; if you want to put it in /Applications, then that’s where it goes. If you want to put it in ~/Applications, you can put it there, too. Heck, you can even run it from the DMG file if you want. And because it doesn’t turd over the configuration directory, you can even burn it to CD and run it from there. (It actually puts the files in ~/Documents/workspace/.metadata/configuration if you’re interested, by setting the osgi.configuration.area property to point to that location in config.ini.)

There’s no change with this app; it’s just a repackaging of what comes from Eclipse.org. There’s also no real reason why it wouldn’t work with your own RCP apps; and it’s probably nicer than the standard Eclipse.org packages for use with RCPs. If you want to add your own features/plugins, or edit the eclipse.ini file, then they’re all in there – just right-click on the Maclipse.app, and select ‘Show package contents’. They’re underneath Contents/Resources/Java.

This is just a work-in-progress. You still can’t dock the application (well, you can, but it spawns another process which means that you get 2 icons in the dock. Ugly. I’ll be working on a version that can be dragged to the dock directly without all this faffing around with spawning a second process; however, that will mean some functions like the restarting workbench won’t work. This may be an issue for some IDEs, but is really unlikely to be a problem for RCPs that need to be deployed on Mac, and that’s what my ultimate goal is to provide.

This was one of my 10 things I hate about Eclipse as well as a pet bug that came up at the Mac OS X birds of a feather at EclipseCon. Unfortunately, bug 57349 is closed WONTFIX so it’s unlikely that this will make it into the standard Eclipse.org release any time soon. Feel free to comment on that bug if you think this is a good idea.