Introducing the Workspace Mechanic for Eclipse

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hi Internet! I’m Robert Konigsberg, and I’ve spent the last four years working on a team that writes Eclipse plug-ins for our coworkers here at Google. I’m happy to announce that we’re open sourcing one of the tools our colleagues use every day: the Workspace Mechanic for Eclipse. I’m also excited that it is being released under version 1 of the Eclipse Public License (EPL).

The Workspace Mechanic is a publicly-released version of a tool we use at Google to automate maintenance of our engineers’ Eclipse environments. With the Mechanic, you can:
  • Create a consistent environment for your entire company, your local team, or your own workspaces
  • Save time setting up new workspaces
  • Create tasks that ensure your favorite new preferences are applied to all your current and future workspaces. (This is one of our favorite features!)
We’re not the only ones who want a tool like this. In 2009, Ivar Meikas wrote a blog post titled “Wanted dead or alive - Eclipse configuration synchronizer!
... why do I have to change the fonts each time I create a new workspace or turn on editor line numbers? There are some tricks, by specifying properties in some ini files, but this is really clumsy (Do you know the property name for the fonts? Without searching?). I think this is something that should be achievable without hacking.

So does anyone know if there is such a plugin that would help synchronize common properties or if there is interest for such a plugin?
Ivar, you want editor line numbers enabled in all your workspaces? Perfect; enabling that is documented as one of our examples. I hope this helps.

My colleague, Terry Parker, and I described the Workspace Mechanic at Eclipse Day at the Googleplex and at EclipseCon. Both times, people asked if we had plans to open source it. Well, yes. Yes we did.

I’m also proud that today’s announcement is part of the long-awaited launch of Eclipse Labs. The Workspace Mechanic is a perfect candidate for the Eclipse Labs, which brings the power of Google Code Project Hosting to a focused Eclipse community.

Today we are providing a code-only release. Enhancements and a p2 repository are on their way. Please check out the source code, join the mailing list, and send us your feedback.