15 November 2011

Visualising Architecture: Eclipse Plug-in Dependencies

In my job at the Blue Company I am working on a product family of large Eclipse RCP applications. Each application consists of a number of OSGi plug-ins which are the main building block of Eclipse RCP. There are dedicated as well as shared plug-ins. I am new to the project and struggle to understand which applications depend on which plug-ins. I would like to see a component diagram, showing the dependencies between modules, i.e. on OSGi level.

There is an Eclipse's Dependency Visualization tool inside the Eclipse Incubator project: Plug-in org.​eclipse.​pde.​visualization.​dependency_​ which displays dependencies of plug-ins. This is exactly what I need. Here is the visualization of one of the products:

Plug-in Dependency Analysis
(The yellow and green bounding boxes were added manually and indicate parts of the architecture.) The tool's main use is to identify unresolved plug-ins, a common problem in large applications. While you find unresolved plug-ins by running the application, the tool helps even before the application is launched. For more information see this article on developerWorks about the use of the Dependency Visualization. The latest version of the plug-in, including its download for Eclipse 3.5.x, is available at the testdrivenguy's blog.

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