Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Setting up eclipse using maven

A popular topic for developers is always what development platform to use and how to set it up. Once a project becomes bigger and more people collaborate the project management often comes up with best practices, such as how code should be formatted and so on. In this post I'll try to describe how to set up a deegree development environment in eclipse quick and easy.

Here's a quick list on things you need to do:
  • download and install a recent eclipse
  • in eclipse, go to Window/Preferences/Java/Build Path/Classpath variables, and add M2_REPO, have it point to your local maven repository (usually $HOME/.m2/repository/). You can do a mvn -Declipse.workspace=/home/user/workspace eclipse:configure-workspace instead of configuring it manually if you want.
  • check out deegree trunk from You can check it out into your eclipse workspace, we can import the projects properly later on.
  • run the maven eclipse plugin plus deegree maven plugin in the trunk folder using mvn -Declipse.workspace=/home/user/workspace -DdownloadSources=true -DdownloadJavadocs=true -Dwtpversion=2.0 eclipse:clean eclipse:eclipse deegree:create-links -Declipse.formatter=deegree (all in one line please)
  • use File -> Import -> General -> Existing Projects  into Workspace in eclipse to import all projects at once. Choose the directory with your deegree checkout as a starting point to scan for projects.
Now you should be good to go to hack deegree.

I like it when things just work, but in case they don't I usually want to know what exactly happens on my computer. So let me explain what happens when you run the maven plugins.

The Maven Eclipse plugin generates the .project, .settings and .classpath files/folders for you. It adds the correct source/resource folders in eclipse, output folder, project/library dependencies and even generated source folders (such as the ones generated by the jaxb plugin).

That's already neat. But we currently have 86 maven projects in a hierarchical project tree, and eclipse wants to have the projects flat in its workspace. That's where the deegree maven plugin can help. On Linux it automatically symlinks the projects to the eclipse workspace folder, although this is not strictly necessary any more (eclipse projects need not be directly in the workspace).

Now getting back to management telling you how to format your code. It's not an option to manually set the formatter for 86 projects. Other projects may require a different formatter, so just setting the default is also not an option. Version 1.4 of the deegree maven plugin let's you specify a formatter using -Declipse.formatter=xxx (as shown above). Currently deegree and eclipse120 are supported, with deegree being our custom code style and eclipse120 being the standard eclipse formatter modified to allow 120 characters per line (instead of the default 80).

So that's it. Please tell if something does not work out as expected.

By the way, the deegree maven plugin can do more stuff. It has some helpers for web service integration testing, deegree workspace management and other utilities. There is a wiki page describing some of it, but it's currently outdated, only some of the functionality is documented.

Edit: Added a few missing steps to get everything to compile properly (Lombok and M2_REPO). Thanks Martin!

Edit: Updated the post with a couple of new things we learned. Also Lombok is not needed any more.