Systems Engineering Software

Eclipse terminology

Eclipse is a cross platform IDE, and there is quite a bit of terminology that is used. If you are not aware of this terminology, it may be difficult to use Eclipse, and thus our software. This page explains some basic Eclipse terminology:

Eclipse workspace

Eclipse stores all its settings in a so-called workspace. The workspace is simply a directory on your computer. You can choose any directory you like to serve as a workspace, as long as you have write access to that directory. It is usually best to choose an empty directory or a directory that does not yet exist as your workspace.

For bundled IDE release, the workspace is the workspace directory inside your Eclipse directory, by default. If you manually installed the tooling, you are asked to choose a workspace directory when you start Eclipse for the first time.

The actual settings are stored in a sub-directory of the workspace directory, called .metadata. You should avoid manually manipulating this directory. Note that because the name of the directory starts with a dot (.), depending on your operating system, file browser, and settings, the directory may be hidden.

You can easily change your workspace from within Eclipse, by selecting File menu ‣ Switch workspace. Select one of the workspaces from the list of last used workspaces, or select Other... to freely select any directory on your system to use as a workspace directory.

It is possible to run multiple instances of Eclipse at the same time, but each instance must use its own workspace.

The workspace is also the default directory for new projects. However, projects don’t have to be physically located inside your workspace. They can be stored in any directory on your system. Whenever you create a project and store it outside of your workspace, or whenever you import an existing project from outside your workspace, it is linked to the workspace, but remains physically stored in a directory outside of the workspace.

Having projects stored outside of the workspace has some benefits. The most important benefit is that you can remove the workspace, without losing your files.

Eclipse views

Eclipse is an IDE with a lot of functionality. Most of the functionality is available through views. A view is a part of the Eclipse graphical user interface. Views can be thought of as ‘sub-windows’. When you start Eclipse you are likely to see the Project Explorer view or Package Explorer view on the left, and the Problems view at the bottom.

Opening a view

To open/show a view, select Window menu ‣ Show view and then choose the view that you wish to open.

If the particular view that you wish to open is not in that menu, choose Other... instead. A new dialog opens, in which you can find all available views. The views are organized into categories. Expand a category, select the desired view, and click OK.

Alternatively, in the Show view dialog, enter the name of the view (or the first part of it) in the filter box at the top of the dialog, and observe how views that don’t match the filter are no longer displayed. This makes it easier to find the desired view.

Eclipse projects

Eclipse, being an IDE, does not only allow you to edit a single file, and simulate it, but also allows you to manage your files.

Eclipse works with so-called projects. A project is a collection of files and directories. A project may be located anywhere on your system, even though by default project are created in your workspace.

A project is essentially a directory on your computer, with a special file named .project. This special file stores the information about your project, such as the name of the project. It is recommended to keep the name of the project as Eclipse sees it, the same as the name of the directory in which the project is stored on your hard disk.

You can see the projects that Eclipse knows about in the Project Explorer or Package Explorer view.

For more information on projects, see Working with projects, directories, and files.