Platform API

Runtime refactoring

In order to make the Eclipse runtime more flexible and allow independent use of runtime components, the org.eclipse.core.runtime plug-in has been split into several plug-ins:

  • org.eclipse.equinox.common - common code used by more than one piece of the former runtime plug-in (i.e. IPath, IStatus, IProgressMonitor).
  • org.eclipse.equinox.registry - Extension registry
  • org.eclipse.equinox.preferences - Preferences mechanism
  • - Jobs mechanism
  • org.eclipse.core.contenttype - Content mechanism
  • org.eclipse.equinox.supplement - A supplemental "plug-in" that is used to support running without OSGi.

New APIs were added to facilitate control of the split runtime pieces.

The runtime refactoring should be transparent to other plug-ins. For more details, see the Eclipse 3.2 migration guide.

Common navigator

A new plug-in, org.eclipse.ui.navigator, introduces a framework for building viewers that combine content from multiple domain models. The framework allows declarative contribution of content, labels, actions, filters, and other capabilities. The org.eclipse.ui.navigator.resources plug-in provides a concrete use of this framework in the form of a Project Explorer view, and declarative viewer extensions for the IResource model.

Picture showing the project explorer view

Tabbed properties framework

A tabbed properties framework has been added. The tabbed properties framework provides a replacement property sheet page, allowing properties to be shown in the Properties view using arbitrary controls, organized by tabs and sections that are contributed via the extension registry.

Picture showing a tabbed properties framework

See the article The Eclipse Tabbed Properties View for details.

File system API

A new plug-in, org.eclipse.core.filesystem, introduces a new generic API for interacting with file systems. The platform has been migrated to use this file system API rather than APIs. This means resources can be created in arbitrary backing file systems, and plug-ins can provide support new kinds of file systems.

Support has been added to the project and linked resource wizards for creating resources that are linked to other file systems. Plug-ins that define alternate file systems can hook into this wizard support by using the org.eclipse.ui.ide.filesystemSupport extension point.

Picture showing a non-local file system

Categorization added to Import and Export

The org.eclipse.ui.importWizards and org.eclipse.ui.exportWizards extension points now support categorization.

Picture showing extension points

Tooltips for annotations in Text editors

Annotation hovering has been pushed down from JDT Text to Platform Text. Text, vertical and overview ruler hover support is installed by TextSourceViewerConfiguration which is used by text editors:

Picture of annotation tooltip

Annotation navigation in Text editors

Annotation navigation has been pushed down from JDT Text to Platform Text and is now available in all text editors:

Picture of navigation icons

JFace field assistance

JFace introduces new support for assisting the user in completing fields inside dialogs and forms. The org.eclipse.jface.fieldassist package provides classes that let you decorate arbitrary controls with images and corresponding hover text. These can be used for purposes such as marking required fields in a dialog, showing field-based error conditions, or showing content-assist prompts. The package also allows you to install content proposals on a control, including a pop-up dialog with content proposals, secondary pop-ups for further information, and options for invoking proposals explicitly or in an automatic (type-ahead) style.

Picture showing field assistance

JFace TreeViewer enhancements

AbstractTreeViewer now supports multiple equal elements in the tree, each with a different parent chain. This support requires that clients enable the element map by calling setUseHashLookup(true).

TreeViewer now supports SWT.VIRTUAL trees. There is a corresponding lazy content provider ILazyTreeContentProvider that only returns contents as they are needed.

Support for dynamic Help content

Help system now supports dynamic composition of help content. Topics authored in XHMTL can contain additional Eclipse-specific markup for on-the-fly filtering of content based on os/ws/arch values, presence of plug-ins, enabled capabilities, etc. Shared content can be included into multiple documents. Finally, plug-ins can contribute XHTML fragments that plug into anchors in other documents. All this now enables information developers to provide dynamic documents that tailor themselves to the context at the time of viewing.

Help search enhancements

User assistance indexing and searching has been enhanced in various ways. Additional search participants can be registered via extension point that can add content to the Lucene index. Help now contributes an XHTML search participant that can index dynamic help documents authored in XHMTL (see above). In addition, documents that were previously not in the index will now appear (for example, cheat sheets and Welcome pages). Search hits can now have different icons and the 'open' action can be delegated to the search engine.

Picture showing Search enhancements

Problems can be grouped

Problems in the Problems view can now be grouped. There are default groupings by severity and problem type, and additional groups can be defined via the org.eclipse.ui.ide.markerSupport extension point.

Improved help in dialogs

Most dialogs in Eclipse now have a standard help button on the bottom left corner. This button summons context help, same as pressing F1 (on Windows). In addition, the help content will now appear in the dialog's tray instead of in a separate window. Custom dialogs can inherit this functionality by subclassing the new TrayDialog class rather than Dialog. Cheat sheets can also follow you into dialogs (in the tray) for those steps that involve opening dialogs.

Embed command links in User Assistance content

Links in Help, cheat sheets, and Introduction content can now execute commands when activated by the user. Command links can be used to open preference pages, launch wizards, show views, open perspectives and for many other purposes. The command framework is extensible so many more uses of command links are possible. The Workbench User Guide has been enhanced with command links in many places. The picture below shows two command links in a help topic:

Command links in help topic

Support for launching commands from cheat sheets

Commands can now be launched from cheat sheets. The content file below contains commands to open the Search view and Package Explorer.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<cheatsheet title="Example of Commands in a Cheat Sheet">

    <description>A cheat sheet shows the 
			package explorer</description>
  <item title="Show Search View">
     <description>This is a step with a command 
		which shows the search view.</description>

     <command serialization=
  <item title="Step 2">
    <description>This is a step with a command and 
		parameters, shows package explorer.</description>

     <command serialization="org.eclipse.ui.views.showView(
         Command example completed.

Composite cheat sheets

Composite cheat sheets are new for Eclipse 3.2. A composite cheat sheet provides guidance for a large problem by dividing it into smaller tasks each of which has its own cheat sheet. Tasks can be organized into groups. Composite cheat sheets open in the cheat sheet view and are launched using the cheat sheet selection dialog. Each task has a description, hyperlinks direct the user through a sequence of tasks.

Picture showing a composite cheatsheet

Composite cheat sheets have a tree which shows the tasks and their status. The right hand/lower panel contains the individual tasks.

Picture showing a composite cheatsheet

The content of a composite cheat sheets is defined in an XML file. The content file can specify what dependencies exist between tasks so that a task can only be started after any prerequisite tasks have been completed.

Help keyword index

Help now has a keyword index, where you can register keywords from your documentation and supply a link to an appropriate help document. The index is available in both the Help view and Help window (view shown below).

Picture showing the Help view

XHTML help docs conversion tool

PDE has a new utility to quickly convert a plug-in's HTML help documents to XHTML. In addition to converting the HTML to valid XHTML, the tool will update the filename extension, the table of contents, and add the necessary bindings to enable dynamic content and searching of the XHTML content. After this conversion, users can take advantage of the new 3.2 Help features such as dynamic content filtering, content reuse, and dynamic content contribution that all require XHTML as the content format.

This function can be invoked via PDE Tools > Convert Help files to XHTML from the context menu of plug-in projects.

Picture showing the XHTML conversion tool

Universal welcome

Based on our experience with concrete Welcome implementations, we now offer a configurable Universal Welcome to be used by any product. Products can choose between 7 predefined main sections: Overview, First Steps, Tutorials, Samples, What's New, Web Resources, and Migrate (Eclipse SDK uses 4 of them). Universal Welcome has configurable page layouts and importance levels for each contribution, and is fully theme-aware. It also offers both HTML and SWT presentations for 100% platform coverage.

A Welcome preference page provided by Universal Welcome opens up Welcome customization to the end users, and can be included in any product that wants to offer it. You can read more about this in the Universal Welcome specification.

Picture showing the Universal Welcome

Support for configuration and themes in Welcome

The Intro framework has more configurability support. An intro configurer can be contributed that offers one-time computation of the group children, variable substitution support, and late anchor path resolution. This support is heavily used by Universal Welcome but can also be used by other Welcome implementations.

Themes represent named collections of CSS files, properties, and images that collectively define the look of the Welcome content. Universal Welcome takes advantage of this support by providing theme selection capability and two concrete themes in 3.2: 'Circles' and 'Purple Mesh'.

Picture showing themes in Welcome

Namespace support for the Ant extension points

The org.eclipse.ant.core antTasks and antTypes extension points now allow for the designation of a URI that the definition should live in. See bug 133190 for full details of all the changes.

Team support for logical model integration

API has been added that allows logical models to participate in Team operation. With this API, Team providers can:
  • Consult models to ensure all required resources are included in a Team operation.
  • Use model semantics to aid in resolving merge conflicts.
  • Allow models to participate in the display of resources during Team Operations

Synchronization with Java and Resource models

Sort indicator in tables and trees

Table and Tree now support a sort direction indicator in the header of the column.

Picture showing a sort direction indicator

SWT snippets showing sorting by column (simple) and sorting by column (virtual table).

Reorderable columns in trees

In Eclipse 3.1, we added the ability to reorder columns in a Table. That support has now been added to Tree.

The display order of columns in a tree can be changed by dragging the column header, or it can be set programmatically.

Picture showing reorderable columns

Example snippet.

Improved XP theme support

On Windows XP, SWT now shows the textured background in tab folders. The groups, labels, check boxes, etc. are all transparent to this background. Also, custom widgets, such as StyledText, now show the correct border for the prevailing Windows XP theme.

Picture showing XP theme support

See the SWT FAQ for instructions on how to run with a Windows XP skin.

Animated GIFs

Animated GIF images can be saved to file.

Picture showing animated GIF support

For an example see the SWT snippet.

Desktop appearance notification

When appearance settings such as theme, font, or default colors are changed for the desktop, an SWT.Settings event is issued for the Display.

Picture showing a desktop appearance notification

Dispose notification

Previously, when an SWT.Dispose event was received for a parent composite, all the children were disposed and therefore could not be referenced. For 3.2, the Dispose event is received before the children have been released in the OS.

Tool tips for columns

Tooltip text can be set on a table or tree column header using TableColumn/TreeColumn.setTooltipText(String).

Vertical CoolBar

A vertical coolbar can be created by using the SWT.VERTICAL style.

Picture showing a vertical CoolBar

OpenGL support

You can now use OpenGL in SWT applications. The OpenGL interface works with third-party OpenGL libraries such as LWJGL.

Picture showing an OpenGL example

For examples, see the SWT snippets

Virtual tree

Tree now supports the SWT.VIRTUAL style. This allows you to create trees with large amounts of data quickly. When TreeItems are needed, they are created on-demand.

For an example see the SWT snippet.

Buttons with image and text

Buttons can now show an image as well as text. This feature is supported on Windows XP, Mac OS X, and GTK.

Picture showing a button with an image

HIView on Mac OS X

SWT now makes use of HIView on Mac OS X. This resolves many clipping and sizing issues.

Embedding objects in text

Using TextLayout and StyledText, it is now possible to embed objects such as images or widgets inside text. Glyph metrics such as ascent, descent and width can be specified. Objects wrap with the text.

Picture showing an image embedded in text

For examples, see the following snippets:

Indent, align and justify text

TextLayout and StyledText now support indenting, justifying, and aligning text.

Picture showing StyledText being aligned

For examples, see the following snippets:

Text baseline rise

Using TextLayout and TextStyle, it is now possible to specify the baseline rise for a range of text.

Picture showing text being given a baseline rise

For an example see the SWT snippet.

HSB color support

A color can be created by specifying the hue, saturation, and brightness. In addition, for a given color, the hue, saturation, and brightness values can be queried.

Picture showing HSB support

For an example, see the SWT snippet

Background image

A background image can be set into a control. In addition, the background can be inherited by child widgets such as labels.

Picture showing a background image in a control

For an example, see the SWT snippet

Native image loading

The constructor Image(Device device, String filename) will now load images using native operating system calls. This has improved performance of image loading and increased the maximum size of image that can be loaded.

Dragging text

If the SWT.DragDetect event is hooked on Text or StyledText, the selection will not be cleared when the user drags from within a selected range of text. This makes it possible to support dragging from the Text and StyledText widgets.

For an example, see this SWT snippet

New ExpandBar widget

The ExpandBar widget allows the user to show and hide collections of widgets by clicking on a header. The ExpandBar contains multiple items which each may have an image and title in the header.

Picture showing widgets being hidden

For an example, see this SWT snippet.

Bullets in StyledText

StyledText can now show lists formatted in a variety of styles, including bullets, numbered, upper case or lower case letters, and custom-defined styles.

Picture showing bullets in StyledText

For an example, see this SWT snippet.

Custom draw Tree

The Tree widget now supports custom draw for individual cells. Applications can enhance the native look and feel of the tree by custom rendering of the data. The application has control over row height so multiple lines of text can be drawn. In addition, it can present multiple images in the same cell, change font or color multiple times, and change the way selections are drawn.

Picture showing custom draw for individual tree cells

For examples, see the following snippets:

Custom draw Table

The Table widget now supports custom draw for individual cells. While still maintaining the native look and feel of the table, users can customize how cells are drawn to display data in a form other than text with an image, to show multiple lines of text in one cell, to change font and color multiple times within the same cell, to override the native selection drawing, etc.

Picture showing custom draw for individual table cells

For examples, see the following snippets:

Drag over effects for Table and Tree

The Table and Tree widgets now provide visual feedback of what is being dragged.

Picture showing drag feedback

New Tooltip class

The new ToolTip class can be used to display tooltips that are not directly tied to a Control. These tooltips can be placed anywhere, and can have either the platform default appearance or a BALLOON appearance as shown below.

Picture showing tooltip with style BALLOON

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