Eclipse and Eclipse Plug-in Installations

COMP 310    Java Resources  Eclipse Resources

IMPORTANT:  Install ONLY the plug-ins that are required!

Not all plug-ins work with the current Eclipse and Java versions and installing them can cause installation and operational problems for other plug-ins.    See the instructions in your class year's instructions as to which plug-ins are required.

Quick Links to Install Instructions


In general, the best way to install plug-ins is to use the Eclipse Marketplace:

  1. From the main Eclipse menu, go to Help/Eclipse Marketplace...
  2. Search for the desired plugin and click the "Install" button.


Installation Tips:

Install the latest Java JDK

Please see the Comp310 Java Resources page.


Install Eclipse

If you already have Eclipse installed, follow the directions on the Eclipse home page to upgrade to the latest version. There are also instructions there on how to set Eclipse to always upgrade to the latest version.

If you are running a 32-bit operating system, please contact the staff immediately BEFORE installing anything!    (Recommendation: upgrade to a 64-bit operation system as a 32-bit system will only cause one problem after another.)

  1. Go to  and click the link for "Download"
  2. Download the installer for the latest version of Eclipse and run it.
  3. When the Eclipse installer asks, the version you want is called "Eclipse IDE for Java Developers", not Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers.
  4. The installation instructions willv vary depending on the computer's operating system so just follow the on-screen directions.


Note:  Particularly if you have upgraded Eclipse from an earlier version, e.g. Kepler to Luna, you may need to increase the amount of memory allocated to Eclipse in order to gid rid of "Out of Memory" or "GC Overhead Limit Exceeded" errors.    If you are encounter these errors, please see these directions.

Keep Eclipse Updated!   -- Periodically, run Help/Check For Updates from the Eclipse main menu.   

Windows users:  You may need to run Eclipse "as administrator" in order to perform updates (except Subclipse -- see below), depending on how Eclipse was installed.


Checking the JVM that is running Eclipse

Eclipse itself is a Java program and is thus run by a specific JVM. The JVM that runs the Eclipse app is NOT necessarily the same as the JVM to which it is compiling and running developer code! Having a difference in the JVM running Eclipse vs. the JVM to which Eclipse is compiling and running developer code, especially if the former is an older version, the can lead to strange, seemingly unrelated problems both during compilation and running of developer code as well as in the operation of some Eclipse plugins. WindowBuilder, for instance, is well-known for being very sensitive to a discrepancy in JVM versions.

The discrepancy in JVM versions between the one running Eclipse itself vs. the one to which it is compiling and running developer code is often caused by having an older JVM version installed when Eclipse was installed. When Eclipse installs, it typically ties itself to be run by the default JVM at the time of the Eclipse install. This means that a discrepancy in JVMs will occur is a later version of the JVM is installed later. The problem can still occur even if the later version of the JVM is installed before Eclipse if the older JVM remains the default JVM.

To check the JVM version under which the Eclipse app is running:

  1. Open The "About Eclipse" dialog and click the "Installation Details" button.
  2. In the "Installation Details" window, click the "Configuration" tab.
  3. In the very long configuration listing, typically closer to the top, look for a line that says "-vm"
  4. The next line is the JVM that runs Eclipse
    • Windows: The latest JDK installations update the "javapath" symlink under "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Oracle\Java" to point to the latest JVM installed. This helps keep Eclipse in Windows running on the latest JVM.

    • Mac:
      • "libjvm.dylib" may be called "libjli.dylib" in newer JDKs.


Forcing a Specific JVM to Run Eclipse

Sometimes between the operating system and Eclipse, signals get crossed and Eclipse uses the wrong JVM (Java Virtual Machine, aka Java Run-time Engine/JRE) when it runs.   This can cause a multitude of confusing problems such as the inability to run some plug-ins (e.g. "incorrect version number in plug-in class file" error).   Here are some directions on how to manually configure Eclipse's initialization file to force it to use the proper JVM:   

In a nutshell (see the above link for details and official instructions!), one needs to configure the -vm option in the eclipse.ini file:

      1. Find the Eclipse installation folder:
        • Windows: A typical installation folder is C:\Users\[username]\eclipse\java-[release name]\eclipse
        • Mac: Find the Eclipse app in Finder and right-click it. Select "Show package contents" and browse down to Contents/Eclipse
      2. Open the eclipse.ini file with a text editor.
      3. Find the -vm entry
        • If the entry exists, replace the next line with the location of the latest installed JVM (bin folder)
        • If the entry does not exist, add it, making sure that it is BEFORE the -vmargs entry! Then add the next line which is the location of the latest installed JVM

      Typical JVM installation locations:

      REMEMBER: The configuration of what JVM runs the Eclipse app is a separate setting than the JVM to which developer code is compiled (the "compliance level" of the compiler) and the JRE used to run developer code (installed JRE). These settings can be found under "Preferences/Java".


Updating Eclipse

One should regularly update Eclipse to make sure that you have the latest versions for Eclipse and all the plugins.

To manage update sites:

If you followed the directions below to install your plugins, the update sites should already be in Eclipse.   To add new update sites or to check that you have the ones for the installed plugins,

  1. In Eclipse, go to Windows/Preferences
  2. Expand the Install/Update node and select "Available Software Sites"
  3. You can add, remove, enable/disable and edit update sites here.

To manually perform an update:

  1. Go to Help/Check for Updates
  2. Eclipse will run through all its update sites looking for updates

To perform a major release update on Eclipse:

RECOMMENDED: Force Eclipse to always update to the latest major release:

Or, you can explicitly add the update site for the new release (see above), whose name depends on the release, but is typically something on the order of[release name]/

Once you add the update site for the new release, you can manually run the update as described above.  On Windows machines, updating Eclipse itself will may require running Eclipse as an administrator (symptom: You get are unable to select the update due to "insufficient access privileges" or the like.)

For more information, see the documentation: FAQ How do I upgrade Eclipse?



Install Eclipse Plug-ins

Window Users: Note that updates to Eclipse itself may require that Eclipse be "run as administrator".   Note that when Eclipse restarts after an installation, it is still running as as administrator.   To return to normal operation, exit Eclipse completely and then run it again as normal.


"UML Lab" Diagramming Tool

UML Lab Home page:

UML Lab is a commercial UML diagramming tool for Eclipse that supports round-trip engineering, i.e. creating diagrams from code and creating code from diagrams.

Rice owns a license key for the full UML Lab functionality.    The course staff will tell you how to obtain this key.  The only restriction for the key is that it must be installed while on-campus and one must periodically (~ every 2 weeks) bring UML Lab up while on campus so it can renew its license.

A free but reduced functionality "Student Version" is available via their academic program:   This version is has no limitations with regards to being on-campus.


  1. Have your license key in hand before you start the install!
  2. From Marketplace (recommended):
    1. In Eclipse, go to Help/Eclipse Marketplace...
    2. Search for "UML Lab"
    3. Select and install "UML Lab Modeling IDE" (not the "Class Diagram Editor"!)
  3. Unless directed otherwise by the course staff, take the default installation options.
  4. Check off any license agreements and click "Finish".
  5. Restart Eclipse.
  6. The first time you use UML Lab, you will be asked to input the license key.

UML Lab runs slightly differently than the other UML diagramming tools.   Be sure to check out the Using UML Lab page.

UML Lab Floating License Notes:


Subclipse Subversion Source Control -- NOT NEEDED IF USING GIT!!

Subclipse Home page:

Subclipse provides Subversion source control capabilitiees for Eclipse to enable multi-developer access to a common, versioned source code repository.  It is also used as the assignment turn-in mechanism in the course.

Subversion home page:


Windows Users:  Do not use "Run as administrator" to install Subclipse (see below)

  1. Go to the Subclipse home page and check what the latest version of the plug is.   Be sure to install the latest version for your system.
  2. From Marketplace (recommended):
    1. In Eclipse, go to Help/Eclipse Marketplace...
    2. Search for "Subclipse"
    3. Select and install "Subclipse"
  3. Manually (only if necessary):
    1. In Eclipse, go to Help/Install New Software
    2. In the "Work with" text field, type the URL for the latest version and then click "Add":
      • As of 01/09/2017, the latest version is  
    3. The "Add Site" dialog will ask you for a name.   Type in something useful, such as "Subclipse".  Click "Ok".
  4. In the main box in the center of the "Install" dialog, check off
  5. Click "Next".
  6. The next screen is a review of what is going to be installed.  Click on "Next".
  7. Accept the license agreement on the next screen and then click on  "Finish".
  8. Disregard any warnings about installing unsigned software and allow the software to install.
  9. Restart Eclipse when the installation is finished.


NOTE: As of 1/7/18, almost all Mac and Linux installations have required the use of the SVNKit to operate properly.

In addition, a number of Windows machines have also needed it. If you are having problems with the JavaHL driver not being recognized, please follow the directions below to switch to the SVNKit driver.

Linux and Mac Issues:

Linux and Macs have some known problems with recognizing and/or interoperating with the JavaHL component of Subclipse.  JavaHL is a system-dependent Subversion client that either comes with Subclipse (usually only for Windows installations) or is already installed in the operationg system (typical of Macs and Linux).    This is often caused by the latest stable SVN client version for that OS platform being incompatible with the latest Subclipse version. 

The first thing to try if the above installation does not work, is the following work-around, which uses a pure-Java SVN client called "SVNKit":

Windows Issues:

If Subclipse was installed using "Run as administrator", the SVN operations may not be possible because no SVN client is available.   See Preferences/Team/SVN to see what the "default SVN client" is set to and what options are available.   The correct client for Windows is the JavaHL client.

The problem does not seem to appear if Subclipse is installed without "Run as administrator".

To fix the problem, uninstall all of Subclipse(see below) and reinstall it.


Uninstalling Subclipse:

Sometimes, you need to completely uninstall Subclipse and start over.  To uninstall Subclipse, go  to Help/Installation Details.  

There are many pieces to Subclipse, which need to be uninstalled one by one, though you do not need to restart Eclipse between each uninstall, only after the last one.  Uninstall the following, the details of which will depend on what you initially installed:

Once everything is uninstalled, restart Eclipse (not as administrator) and reinstall Subclipse.



If you are still having trouble even after configuring to use the SVNKit, contact a staff member immediately.   Do NOT proceed further unless cleared by a staff person!  

If no SVNKit is available, try the following solutions:  

Mac OS X

If neither the regular installation above nor the SVNKit installation above works, you can try the following as a last resort:

Information about JavaHL on Mac OS X:


Information on JavaHL on Linux:

How to Use Subclipse

Eclipse WindowBuilder

As of 9/2019, WindowBuilder is not currently bundled with Eclipse, so it needs to be will need to be explicitly installed.

WindowsBuilder is not included in the Java EE version of Eclipse, so if you must use the EE version (NOT recommended!) then you must manually install WindowBuilder.

WindowBuilder home page:

WindowBuilder is a (free!) What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get ("WYSIWG") editor for creating graphical user interfaces ("GUI"'s) in Java.   The use of a an automated GUI builder such as WindowBuilder greatly simplifies and speeds up the development of GUI-based applications.


  1. From Marketplace (recommended):
    1. In Eclipse, go to Help/Eclipse Marketplace...
    2. Search for "WindowBuilder"
    3. Select and install "WindowBuilder"
  2. Manually (only if necessary):
    1. For manual download information for the latest version, go to
    2. In Eclipse, go to Help/Install New Software
    3. In the "Work with" text field, type in the "Update Site" link found in the above site that corresponds to your version of Eclipse.   Click "Add".
    4. The "Add Site" dialog will ask you for a name.   Type in something useful, such as "WindowBuilder".  Click "Ok".
  3. In the main box in the center of the "Install" dialog, check off at least the following components:
  4. Check off any license agreements and click "Finish".
  5. Restart Eclipse.

How to Use WindowBuilder



CodeTogether home page:

CodeTogether is a tool that enables a "host" to share an Eclipse session with multiple remote users where everyone in the session can


  1. From Marketplace (recommended):
    1. In Eclipse, go to Help/Eclipse Marketplace...
    2. Search for "CodeTogether"
    3. Select and install "CodeTogether"
  2. Directly from developer:
    1. Follow directions at

For detailed installation directions, see

How to use CodeTogether


None of the following plugins are needed by COMP 310 or COMP 504, though they may be needed for other classes:


Eclipse Web Tools Platform ("WTP")

This plugin is useful for those who wish to do web development using Eclipse.   In particular, one of the few free WYSIWYG ("What You See Is What You Get") HTML editors is available here.

WTP Home Page:

Update site:[eclipse_version]/   e.g.

To get just the "Web Page Editor":

  1. Add the appropriate site above to Eclipse's "Available Software Sites" and open the update site in the "Install New Software" dialog in Eclipse.
  2. Expand the "Web Tools Platform" item
  3. Select "JSF Tools - Web Page Editor"
  4. Finish the installation of the plugin.


Google Plugin for Eclipse (Google App Engine)

This plugin is only needed if you are doing Google App Engine development in Eclipse, particularly in Java.    This tool includes the Google App Engine SDK and local emulator plus deployment tools.

 Note that as of 8/15/16, the Google Plugin above only supports Java development for Google App Engine, not Python, Php or Go.   To develop in these languages, you need install the stand-alone SDKs for those languages.

Google Plugin for Eclipse home page:

Update site:[version] e.g.  (check for the latest version in the home page first)



This plugin is used for Python development in Eclipse. 

PyDev home page:

Update site:





© 2020 by Stephen Wong