Many Eclipse plug-ins are available, and many are free. You can find over 400 plug-ins at http://www.eclipse-plugins.2y.net/eclipse/, and the plug-in we'll use for Swing is available from that site. On the other hand, Eclipse plug-ins can change very frequently, so we can't base entire chapters on themthe plug-in you download would be different from the one written about in this book.
But we can look at what specific plug-ins have to offer in general terms, and we'll do that here. In this chapter, we'll take a look at the popular, free V4ALL plug-in to help us write some Swing code, available from http://www.eclipse-plugins.2y.net/eclipse/. Navigate to that page, click the plugins link, then the categories link, and then the UI link to find the Eclipse V4ALL Swing & SWT plug-in. Stop Eclipse if it's running and download that compressed plug-in file to Eclipse's eclipse directory (this is the directory that contains the workspace and plugins directories).
When you download plug-ins, you usually download them to the eclipse directory. They'll come zipped or tarred, and you usually uncompress them in the eclipse directory. When you uncompress them, the support files for plug-ins go automatically into the plugins and features directories, which are subdirectories of the eclipse directory.
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Plug-ins are not always designed to be uncompressed in the eclipse directoryif possible, check the plug-in's documentation first. When you're about to unzip a plug-in, open it in an unzip utility and see if it'll unzip files to the plugins directory. If so, unzipping it in the eclipse directory is the right thing to do. Some plug-ins should be uncompressed in the plugins directory directly, however.
Unzip or untar the V4ALL plug-in now, which should automatically load its files into the plugins and features directories. That's all the installation you need. Now start Eclipse again. Eclipse may display a dialog indicating that there are pending configuration changes and may ask you if Eclipse should restart. Restart Eclipse if you're asked.
Congratulationsyou've just installed the V4ALL plug-in. It's time to put it to work.