Eclipse Application Launcher

PDE provides an Eclipse Application launcher which allows you to run and debug your plug-in by launching a separate Eclipse application. As with all other launchers in Eclipse (e.g. the Java Application and Java Applet launchers,...), the Eclipse Application launcher can be invoked via a shortcut and its launch configurations are centrally managed in the Launch Configuration Dialog.

Launching via a Shortcut

A quick way to test a plug-in is by launching a separate application via Eclipse Application launch shortcuts that are available as:

Launch shortcuts are context-sensitive. If the selected resource is a plug-in project or plug-in manifest editor that declares an application (an org.eclipse.core.runtime.applications extension) or a product (an org.eclipse.core.runtime.products extension), then PDE launches that application or product. The set of plug-ins PDE launches with is a minimal set made up of the selected plug-in and all its pre-requisites only. If the selected plug-in contains both a product extension and an application extension, the product extension takes precedence.

If the selected plug-in does not contain either a product extension or an application extension, PDE launches the default product as defined in the eclipse.product key of the config.ini file that is located in the ${target_home}/configuration directory. ${target_home} refers to the location of the target platform as specified on the Windows > Preferences... > Plug-in Development > Target Platform preference page. If the default product is launched, the set of plug-ins used in the launch are all the workspace plug-ins and all the plug-ins that are checked on the Target Platform preference page. Target plug-ins whose ID conflict with the ID of a workspace plug-in are not included in the launch configuration.

PDE creates a new Eclipse Application launch configuration and pre-configures it with reasonable defaults. This is done only when needed - not every time an Eclipse Application launch shortcut is invoked. PDE searches existing Eclipse Application launch configurations first and reuses one that is already associated with the product or application being launched. If there are multiple existing launch configurations associated with the product or application being launched, PDE displays a dialog containing all matching launch configurations and lets the user decide.

Customizing a Launch Configuration

If you require full control over how to launch your Eclipse application, you can create and customize a launch configuration in the Launch Configuration Dialog.

The Launch Configuration Dialog can be invoked via Run > Run... or Debug > Debug... from the top level menu. A new Eclipse Application launch configuration can be created by double-clicking on the Eclipse Application node in the tree viewer to the left.

An Eclipse Application launch configuration contains seven tabs allowing you to customize all aspects of the test launch. Refer to the following documents for more details:

JUnit Plug-in Test Launcher
OSGi Framework Launcher