Configure Eclipse workspace automatically

I have a eclipse workspace which constitutes of 15 different java projects . To configure the eclipse workspace , every time I need to add the java projects manually and add the dependency and refrences in the java build path.
Adding all the projects and resolving dependency every time becomes a manual and redundant task. I explored on the .classpath inside the every projects which stores the dependency and refrences information.
I would like to automate this redundant process.
Have any one tried doing that , any inputs will be helpful.

I don’t need to add same project more than once , but often need to create a new eclipse workspace with new code changes and delivery (I can’t take some of the changes in the current work space).In simple terms for e.g if some one need to create eclipse workspace again and again , or multiple people need to create the same workspace for their work . How can we reduce that manual effort?

Answer

I am still a little unsure about your motivations but I am going to assume that by new code changes and delivery you mean a different revision/branch of the same code base. For this purpose and for many other reasons, if you are not using source control like SVN or Git, look into it. These tools are priceless and also free.

Eclipse

I don’t think this is technically part of your question but I wanted to add it for completeness. If you’re implementing the techniques below, it is also handy to have a ‘fully loaded eclipse’. I keep a ‘fully loaded eclipse’ on a network drive somewhere with some plugins pre-loaded so that new additions to the team don’t have to download/install the plugins. It’s not hard to do since eclipse doesn’t need to be ‘installed’. You can just copy the eclipse folder to where you want it and run it. Personally I like to include plugins for source control, code style, code coverage and metrics but you should include anything that you use consistently in your project.

The Workspace

To copy an existing workspace (not including any projects, I’ll get to that later) all you have to do is copy the .metadata folder from an existing workspace folder to an empty folder that will be your new workspace folder. When you start up eclipse simply choose the new workspace folder and you will have all the same preferences as you had in the other workspace.

I have used this technique before so that when people join a project they can take a copy of a ‘clean workspace’ I keep on a network drive somewhere that helps them get up and running quickly. Preferably, this ‘clean workspace’ should not have any preferences that are only personal preferences like having the perspectives setup just the way you like it but should only have preferences like Ant global properties, compiler compliance level, pre-made commonly-used external tool and run configurations etc.

Projects

For the projects themselves, I would recommend checking them into source control including the eclipse .project and .classpath files. The SVN plugin (subclipse) makes it very easy to do this. Then when someone joins your project, all they have to do is check them out as projects in their new ‘clean workspace’ which is also very easy to do. Since the project you’re checking-out already has the .project and .classpath files, all of the dependencies are already setup! Just make sure that all the jars and any other dependencies are checked-in with the projects.

Workspace Setup Procedure

  1. Take a copy of the ‘fully loaded eclipse’.
  2. Take a copy of the ‘clean workspace’.
  3. Check out the projects into that workspace.

That’s it! Your new recruit should be ready to go!

Multiple Code Branches

Now, if I was right to assume that by new code changes and delivery you mean a different branch of the same code base, creating a workspace for a different branch as easy as following the same steps but checking out the required revision or branch instead of the latest version from the trunk. If you don’t quite understand what I mean by that, read up on source control.

Cudos

Good on you for taking the time to do this, I have been in projects where it can literally take a day to get setup…

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