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Installing Eclipse - some of my favorite plugins

Posted by johnsmart on February 12, 2009 at 3:01 PM PST

I just reinstalled a fresh version of Eclipse onto my workstation. I switch between IDEs a fair bit, depending on what I am doing. Eclipse is great for Maven work, mainly because of the m2eclipse plugin that just keeps getting better and better. IntelliJ, on the other hand, is king when it comes to Groovy and Grails. Here, I will run through how I typically set up my Eclipse environment. So, here is the procedure:

  • Download the latest Eclipse EE package (in this case, Ganymede SR1).
  • Update the pre-installed plugins to the latest version.
  • Install Subclipse ( - very cool support for Subversion 1.5 branching and merging.
  • I skip the AJDT plugin, as I don't use AspectJ for my current projects. If you are, you might want to include this one to benefit from the maven-aspectj-plugin integration.
  • Install M2Eclipse ( - note this is the dev snapshot - I like living dangerously ;-).

That's it for the basic stuff. With this, you can start developing. But the setup still lacks a bit of character. So I usually add a few more plugins.

I'm a big fan of code quality and code metrics, so I add the standard code quality-related plugins:

At the moment, I don't bother installing Crap4j, as it doesn't work on Ganymede yet.

I do occasionally do some work in Groovy in Eclipse (though IntelliJ is nicer on this front), so I add some Groovy support:

If you use Spring and Hibernate, there are also good plugins for these tools as well:

I like to monitor my CI servers from within my IDE. For Hudson, I use this one:

  • Hudson Eclipse plugin (http//

I'm not adverse to a bit of commercial software, if it improves my productivity and doesn't require me to take out another mortgage. So I may well install the following commercial plugins:

  • JUnitMax (the tool is still a bit rough in parts, but those unit test failures marked with red crosses, just like compilation failures, really are quite addictive).
  • Tasktop (sort of like Mylyn on steroids)

With this, I have an operational development environment. I might install others as the need arises, but this gets me up and running in Eclipse with a minimum of fuss. What plugins do you consider essential?

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Yeah, I got that too installing m2eclipse on a new instance of Eclipse. You need to install GEF as well (

John, I was trying to update url with Eclipse Ganymede. It seems now it has m2Eclipse Maven2 synchronization plugin. I already have M2Eclipse installed on my machine. But it does give an error report Cannot find a solution satisfying the following requirements org.eclipse.swt [3.4.0.v3448f]. Is there a resolution for this conflict?

JInto is also a very nice plugin, it makes editing resource bundles a breeze.

Did you know that you can easily create custom eclipse version with all sorts of plugins at yoxos. Pretty cool and a big time safer:

Thanks for the update, Sean - in that case I will install it again ;-)

I just double-checked crap4j (v 1.1.6 from and it works fine in Ganymede (3.4.1 M20080911-1700).

Good point - they are great plugins, too. I've added them into the mix. Thanks.

John, what about the Hibernate Tools or Spring IDE plugins?