Building Eclipse Plug-ins Written in Scala with Maven/Tycho

The Scala Refactoring project currently uses a rather crude hand-written ant build file; it compiles and runs tests. What it doesn’t do is creating a proper OSGi bundle, which I need if I want to do proper releases and integrate it into the Scala Eclipse IDE. Most of my colleagues are using PDE build, but from what I’ve heard, Buckminster or Maven/Tycho are the way to go.

Buchminster looks rather complex to me, so I went with Maven, even though I had no prior experience with it. Now, a few hours later, I have a Hello World plug-in written in Scala and a bunch of poms that build everything I want, even an update site!

Tycho needs Maven 3, which hasn’t been released yet, so I downloaded the latest alpha build and created an alias that pointed to the mvn binary.

I started with Mattias Holmqvist’s Blog where he explains how to create the initial Maven configuration and an OSGi bundle in Eclipse (I created a Hello World Plug-in Project). Now, we don’t want to have a Java plug-in but one written in Scala, so I added the Scala Nature to the project and re-wrote the two generated files in Scala.

To add Scala functionality to my pom, I followed the Eclipse Scala Maven Integration wiki. I also had to add the Scala Eclipse Plug-in nightly build update site to my list of repositories so Maven could resolve the scala.library dependency the project has.

       <id>scala eclipse nightly</id>

Because I apparently didn’t follow Maven’s source layout, I had to explicitly specify the source directory via:


Adding the update site and feature projects was a peace of cake when following this tutorial (scroll to Creating an Update Site / P2 repository) from the Tycho project.

I’ve put the whole project on GitHub so you can try it yourself. And remember, this is my first day with Maven, so if I could make the poms even smaller or more idiomatic, please tell me. Or even better, just fork my code!

Next I’m going to find out how to run unit tests and how the integration in Hudson works, and then I can migrate the Scala Refactoring project and delete a build.xml file.

Update April 2012: I’ve updated the sample repository to the latest versions of Scala, Eclipse and Maven-Tycho.

Update July 2012: Updated the sample repository to the use Scala 2.9.2, Eclipse Juno and Tycho 0.15.0.


DIY Refactoring for Scala

Excuse my long absence from blogging, but I have a good excuse: I’ve been hard at work on my Scala Refactoring project.

Today, I’m going to show you how you can implement your very own automated refactoring for Scala. “Implement a refactoring you say? But I don’t use IDE xy!”. Don’t worry, you won’t have to use a specific IDE, in fact, you don’t need to use an IDE at all.

Why should you want to write a refactoring? IDEs usually provide a bunch of general refactorings and code generators, but maybe you need a framework or project specific one that no IDE will implement for you. And don’t worry, it is not as complicated as it might sound. (And I should add that when I write refactoring, this includes all program transformations that affect the source code, so you could also create a transformation that just creates new code.)

A refactoring is essentially a transformation of the program in its tree form. Unfortunately, our programs are stored in plain text files, so the transformed tree has to be converted back to text, and this without losing all our pretty formatting. One of the design goals of the Scala Refactoring library was to separate these two concerns as good as possible, so that the implementor (you!) of a refactoring can concentrate on transforming trees and let the library do all the ugly code generation for him. To make it easier for those who already know the Scala compiler’s abstract syntax tree, the refactorings are completely based on this AST instead of introducing a new program representation. I can’t introduce Scala’s AST in detail here, but there’s an introduction in my term project’s technical report which I also plan to expand in my master’s thesis (please give me feedback if you notice any errors).

Please continue reading the rest of the post on my project wiki (where the layout is much more suited for source code).