Getting started with the Eclipse RCP

Everybody has to start somewhere, and as a complete beginner in software development with Java and the Eclipse RCP, I have been, and still am, constantly on the lookout for sources of information.

The following books and websites – in my opinion – provide good starting points for people who are in the same position.

Ordered by usefulness (IMHO).

The Eclipse Book

Jeff McAffer, Jean-Michel Lemieux, Chris Aniszczyk: Eclipse Rich Client Platform, Second Edition. Boston (Addison-Wesley): May 2010. 552 pp. In English. ISBN-13: 978-0321603784.

For people who like to read books rather than websites. It is as up-to-date as can be, and is a very good and comprehensive introduction to the Eclipse RCP. Can be read back-to-back, or used as a reference. I have used this almost exclusively in my “early days” of programming with the Eclipse RCP.

Book website

The Eclipse Wiki page for the RCP

More of a hub really. Links to several other sources of information about the RCP.

Eclipse Wiki page for the RCP

Eclipse RCP How-Tos

Helpful shortcut list for a lot of standard RCP queries. A one-stop shop when you need a quick solution.

Eclipse RCP How-Tos on the Eclipse website

Learning by doing: The RCP examples in Eclipse

This is learning the hard way, but a good starting point, if you like learning by doing, is to simply download the Eclipse distribution for RCP (= Plug-in) development, and check out the templates.

Once you have installed the IDE, and opened it, create a new plug-in project via the menu (File > New > Other > type “pl” in the Wizard > choose “Plug-In Project” > Next > type a project name > “This plug-in is targeted to run with:” choose “Eclipse version” and pick your version from the dropdown > Next > Make sure “This plug-in makes contributions to the UI” is checked > “Would you like to create a rich client application”: Yes > Next > Choose one of the Available Templates (Hello World is obviously the most reduced one, RCP Mail Template the most sophisticated) > Fill in additional fields (depending on template)).

Have a good look at the source code and familiarize yourself with how things are done. Then start to change things around and see what the effect is. Then go to one of the other sources and read about what you have just done.

vogella Tutorial

A tutorial that dives right into the action. Not a lot of background information, but gets you started quickly.

Tutorial on

Articles on Eclipse RCP by Ralf Ebert

A collection of tutorials on the Eclipse RCP, providing solutions for different problems.

Ralf Ebert’s Eclipse RCP articles

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