Well, this week I’ve been able to introduce another developer to the Eclipse Web Tools Platform project and it’s been satisfying to see the look of joy on his face as he discover its hidden gems. As well as the standard stuff like HTML syntax highlighting, error highlighting and formatting, there’s also the more powerful stuff like completion on any tag library you want. Sure you can get this sort of thing with MyEclipse, but the WTP is free.

The only catch with this project is that it’s a big one with a couple of dependencies – which makes it much, much easier to install if you just use the Eclipse Update Manager and get it to automatically load dependent frameworks. I’m surprised at the number of developers who still install Eclipse plugins and features using the old-school technique of downloading a zip file and unpacking it into their plugins folder. You can often even upgrade all of Eclipse using the Update Manager!

However, we haven’t been able to use the Update Manager this week as we’ve been working behind a corporate firewall that blocks it for some reason – even after we configure the HTTP proxy access. Initially we resorted to the old-school approach (with all of its consequent difficulties) but then remembered that you can get distributions of Eclipse that are prepackaged with WTP. After that there was no looking back.


  1. About 18mths ago I gave up fighting separate eclipse plugins as it was just too painful and went over to MyEclipse so I could just stop thinking about it and concentrate on getting things done instead. Paying the annual subscription fee continued but to be honest all I was really using was the JSP syntax highlighting and the database explorer. Everything else, like the Hibernate mappings, Spring config support just never matched the setup I had on projects. Maybe if I had started with MyEclipse on those projects and used the wizards etc it may have worked but I’d have needed to mandate that every developer would need MyEclipse and didnt want to lock the projects into that.

    So after reading your Blog I decided to take the plunge again – and I’m forced to admit you are completely right! In fact I’ve found the WTP support for the likes of JSPs, tag completion much better and more stable than that within MyEclipse.

    Here is the list of Plugins I used to get a brand new Eclipse 3.2.2 up and running – it only takes about 10 minutes on a decent connection and you can point at your existing workspace so you dont
    need to recheck out your projects. Use the following urls in the Update Manager.

    Sysdeo – Excellent Tomcat plugin I’ve used for years. Why they dont have an update site and you need to manually install I have no idea however download here Sysdeo Website

    Thanks again Ben!

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