Tutorial: Installing Eclipse on your Own Computer

By Jonathon Lundy and Ron Cytron


Eclipse is an Integrated Development Environment, or IDE, which is software that provides all the essential tools you will need for editing, running, and debugging your Java programs.  Eclipse and all of the supporting software is already installed on CEC computers, but you may also wish to install it on your own computer, so that you are not limited to working only on CEC boxes.  (It’s free!)  Versions of the software are available for all operating systems.


I. Installing the Java Development Kit (JDK)


            Note: Mac users skip to the last part of this section.


            The Java Development Kit, or JDK, is a set of development tools used in the programming of Java applications.  The Eclipse IDE requires that a JDK be locally installed.  The JDK can be downloaded from the web at http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads/index.jsp.  Under the header Java SE Downloads, click the plain Java button, shown in the green box below, to download most recent update of JDK 6.



            Beware:  The CEC computers are configured with JDK 6.  You’ll also want to be using a version of JDK 6, otherwise compatibility issues may occur

            Follow the instructions for your particular computer and operating system (Windows, Linux, OS X, etc).  Note that you will need administrator rights to install.


            Mac Users: Mac OS X comes pre-installed with JDK.  To ensure that you have JDK 6 support, download the appropriate updates from http://developer.apple.com/java/, where you can also read more about Java for Mac.


II. Installing and Starting Eclipse


Now that the Java JDK has been installed, we can now download and run the Eclipse IDE.  First, point your browser to http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/.  Then, under the Eclipse Packages tab, find the listing for Eclipse IDE for Java Developers.  Select your OS and download the appropriate archive file.



When the download is finished, extract the archive to a new folder for Eclipse in a place of your choosing (you’ll probably want to put it in whatever folder applications are usually stored on your OS).  No further installation is required.  You may wish to create a shortcut to the Eclipse executable to place on your desktop/dock so you don’t have to find the folder you installed it to each time you wish to start Eclipse.


Start Eclipse.  (Note that startup can take a while!)  You will be prompted during startup to select a folder for your workspace, which is where your Java files are stored locally.  Select a folder (preferably an empty one) to use as your workspace.  The default is usually a good choice.  Select Use this as the default and do not ask again if you don’t want to be asked this question every time on start-up.



Once Eclipse has started, you’ll be taken to the Welcome tab.  Close this tab to go to the default Eclipse perspective.


III. Installing the Subversive Plug-in


Subversive is a plug-in for Eclipse that allows Eclipse to use Subversion (SVN), which is a version control system.  Use of this system will make it easy for you to easily move from your own computer to a CEC computer, work in groups, and electronically submit your work.  However, Eclipse does not support SVN out of the box; a plug-in is required to make it work.  Details on how to use SVN with Eclipse will be explained in another tutorial; here we will merely install it.


First, open the Help menu of Eclipse and choose the Install New Software… option.  In the drop down menu, drag down to the Helios line, which points to the site containing popular software installs for this (Helios) version of Eclipse.  Eclipse will now look for all of the software packages that are available.  This step can take considerable time and you may see Pending…. or some other such message for a while in the window.  Be patient.


Eventually, a list will appear, and you want to expand the Collaboration entry.  When that expands, scroll down and select the  Subversion SVN Team Provider entry, and follow the next menus to install this component into Eclipse.  When done, Eclipse will suggest that you restart the IDE, so please do that.


The very first time you use Eclipse’s SVN explorer, you will be prompted to install a connector component.  This is necessary, so you might as well do that now.  From the top row of Eclipse menu items, choose Window…Open Perspective….Other…SVN Repository Exploring


This should trigger Eclipse to prompt you for the SVN connector software.  Choose the most recent (highest revision number) of the SVN Kit choices that are offered to you.  These are pure Java components, so they work with any operating system or platform.


You should be ready to access your repository. Follow the web site instructions carefully and get help if you need it.