You want to do the minimal work required to create a new plug-in.
At a minimum, every plug-in needs a plugin.xml file that tells Eclipse about it. And if you have a plugin.xml file, you have a plug-ineven one that doesn't have any code. Start off plugin.xml with a standard XML declaration, add a <plugin> element, and set the id , name , version , and provider-name attributes of this element. Then store plugin.xml in a folder in the plugins directory to install this rudimentary plug-in.
To get a handle on how Eclipse views plug-ins, we'll create a minimal plug-in now, which has only a plugin.xml file. This file is called the plug-in manifest , and it tells Eclipse all about the plug-in and where to find the Java support code, if any. Because, as far as Eclipse is concerned , all you need to create a plug-in is a plug-in manifest, we'll create one now as an example.
Use any text editor that can save plain text, including Eclipse, to create a plug-in manifest for a plug-in named org.cookbook.simple . Here's what plugin.xml looks like when specifying the plug-in's name, ID, version number, and provider name:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <plugin id="org.cookbook.simple" name="Simple Plug-in" version="1.0.0" provider-name="Plug-in Power Corp."> </plugin>
Plug-ins are stored in the eclipse/plugins folder, in folders reflecting their name and version number. To indicate that we're creating version 1.0.0 of this simple plug-in, store plugin.xml as eclipse/plugins/org.cookbook.simple_1.0.0/plugin.xml , then restart Eclipse.
This new plug-in doesn't do anything, but to confirm that Eclipse is treating it as a bona fide plug-in, take a look at the plug-in registry, which you can open by selecting Help About Eclipse Platform and clicking the Plug-in Details button. You'll see the new, simple plug-in in the plug-in registry, as shown at the bottom of Figure 12-1.
Figure 12-1. The simple plug-in in the plug-in registry
That provides an introduction to working with plug-in manifests . To start creating code for plug-ins, take a look at the next couple of recipes.
12.2.4 See Also
Recipe 12.3 on creating a menu-based plug-in using wizards; Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 of Eclipse ( O'Reilly).