Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Running SWTBot tests in Travis

The problem I was having when running SWTBot tests in Travis CI was that I could not use the new container-based infrastructure of Travis, which allows to cache things like the local maven repository. This was not possible since to run SWTBot tests you need a Window Manager (in Linux, you can use metacity), and so you had to install it during the Travis build; this requires sudo and using sudo prevents the use of the container-based infrastructure. Not using the cache means that each build would download all the maven artifacts from the start.

Now things have changed :)

When running in the container-based infrastructure, you’re still allowed to use Travis’  APT sources and packages extensions, as long as the package you need is in their whitelist. Metacity was not there, but I opened a request for that, and now metacity is available :)

Now you can use the container-based infrastructure and install metacity together (note that you won’t be able to cache installed apt packages, so each time the build runs, metacity will have to be reinstalled, but installing metacity is much faster than downloading all the Maven/Tycho artifacts).

The steps to run SWTBot tests in Travis can be summarized as follows:

I left the old steps “before_install” commented out, just as a comparison.

  • “sudo: false” enables the container based infrastructure
  • “cache:” ensures that the Maven repository is cached
  • “env:” enables the use of graphical display
  • “addons:apt:packages” uses the extensions that allow you to install whitelisted APT packages (metacity in our case).
  • “before_script:” starts the virtual framebuffer and then metacity.

Then, you can specify the Maven command to run your build (here are some examples:

Happy SWTBot testing! :)



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Using the new Eclipse Installer

I’ve just started using the brand new Eclipse installer, and I’d like to report my experiences here. First of all, a big praise to Ed Merks and Eike Stepper for creating Oomph, on which the installer is based. :)

First of all, the installer is currently available in the “Developer Builds” section:


Once you downloaded it and extracted it, just run the executable oomph:

eclipse-installer2If you see an exclamation mark (on the top right corner), click on it, you’ll see some updates are available, so update it right away, and when it’s done, press OK to restart it.

The very same top right corner, also opens a menu for customization of some features, the one I prefer is the Bundle Pool, a cool feature that has been in Eclipse for so many years, and so very badly advertised, I’m afraid!

“p2 natively supports the notion of bundle pooling. When using bundle pooling, multiple applications share a common plugins directory where their software is stored. There is no duplication of content, and no duplicated downloads when upgrading software.”

One of the cool things of Oomph is that it natively and automatically supports bundle pools, it makes it really easy to manage them and makes installation faster and with less space requirements (what’s already been downloaded and installed won’t have to be downloaded and installed again for further Eclipse installations).


If you select that menu item, you can manage your bundle pools; the installer already detected existing bundle pools (I’ve been using them myself, manually, for some time now, and it detected that):


For this blog post I will create another bundle pool, just for testing. To create a new bundle pool, you first need to create a new p2 agent; the agent is responsible to manage the bundle pool, and to keep track of all the bundles that a specific Eclipse installation requires (this is also known as a p2 profile).

So I select “New Agent…” and choose a location in my hard disk; this will also set a bundle pool:


Just for demonstration, I’ll select the “pool”, “Delete…”, and create a “New Bundle Pool…” for the new agent, in another directory:


Then I select the new bundle pool, and press “OK”.

From now on, all the installations will be managed by the new agent, and all bundles will be stored in the new bundle pool.

OK, now, back to the main window, let’s start installing “Eclipse IDE for Java Developers”

In the next windows, I choose to install the new Eclipse in a different folder from the proposed default:


Let’s press “INSTALL”, and accept the LICENSE, the installation starts:

eclipse-installer8You’ll see that the installer is really quick (as far as I know, Oomph improved p2 internal mechanisms). It only took about a minute to install this Eclipse on my computer.

Then, you’re ready to launch this installation, or see the installation log.

eclipse-installer9But first, let’s have a look at the directory layout:


you see that the installed eclipse does not have the typical directory structure: it has no “features”/”plugins” directories: these are in the shared bundle pool. Also note that the p2 agent location has a directory representing the profile of the installed Eclipse.

Let’s try and install another Eclipse, e.g., the “Eclipse DSL Tools” (what else if not the one with the cool Xtext framework? 😉

The dialog proposes an installation directory based on my previous choice; I also select “Luna” as the platform:


Let’s press “INSTALL”… WOW! This time it’s even faster! You know why: only the new bundles are downloaded, everything else is shared. This also means: less space wasted on your hard disk! :)

But there are cooler things: Bundle pool management!

Go back to the “Bundle Pool Management” dialog, select the checkbox “Show Profiles” and you see the profiles handled by the current agent:

eclipse-installer12Select the agent and press “Analyze…”

You can see the bundles used by which profile:

eclipse-installer13Hope you enjoy this new installer! :)





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Analyzing Xtend code with Sonarqube

I recently started to play with Sonarqube to reduce “technical debt” and hopefully improve code quality (see my previous post). I’d like to report on my experiences about using Sonarqube to analyze Xtend code.

Xtend compiles into Java source code, so it looks like it is trivial to analyze it with Sonarqube; of course, Sonarqube will analyze the generated Java code, but it’s rather easy to refer to the original Xtend code, since Xtend generates clean Java code :)

However, we Sonarqube 4.4 it looks like it’s harder than I thought due to some facts:

My starting point was another issue: test results did not show in the Sonarqube 4.4 web interface, and that was because test detection has changed in version 4 (

I created an example to reproduce the problem and propose a solution:

In the parent project we specify the actual project with sources to be analyzed, and the project containing tests (in this example I also use jacoco for code coverage, but that’s not crucial for this example):

And we enable all the Maven plug-ins for

The plugin and the plugin.tests projects intentionally contain Xtend and Java files with some Findbugs issues, e.g.,

Now, assuming you have Sonarqube 4.4 running on your machine, you can run the typical maven commands to analyze your code (make sure you set the MaxPermSize in the MAVEN_OPTS otherwise the Xtend compiler will run out of memory):

If you go to Sonarqube web interface you see

sonarqube xtend 1So you see that Sonarqube correctly detected Findbugs issues in all the Java files, but for the Java code generated by Xtend, it only detected the issues in the plugin.tests project, not on the plugin project (as explained here, Sonarqube does “not take into consideration this suppress warnings annotation in test files”).

To deal with this problem, I created an ant file which basically removes all the @SuppressWarnings(“all”) annotations in all the generated Java files in the xtend-gen folder:

and I created a Maven profile in the parent pom that, when activated, invokes the ant target, in the process-sources phase (recall that this phase is executed after generate-sources phase, when the Xtend files are compiled into Java code)

Now, let’s invoke the two maven commands, but this time, the first one activates the above profile

OK, let’s go to the “Issues Drilldown” in the Sonarqube web interface and this time the issues are detected also in the plugin project:

sonarqube xtend 2You may want to select “Since previous analysis” in the combo box, to make sure that this analysis detected these new issues:

sonarqube xtend 3

Hope this helps! :)

The source code can be found here:

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The XImportSection in Xbase 2.4

I know that Xtext 2.4 has not been released yet, but I could not resist blogging about a very cool new feature in Xbase: improved automatic import functionalities!

Actually, import functionalities were already great when using Xbase also in previous versions of Xtext, but now they provide a much better experience for the user of your DSL! Indeed, all the import functionalities you are used to with JDT (like automatic import insertion, and organize imports) are available also for your Xbase language; these features were already available in Xtend, and they have been ported to Xbase itself.

At the time of writing, you need to get the very latest updates of Xtext 2.4, using the update site .

Before you used to do something like

Now, you can use in your grammar the new Xbase rule: XImportSection:

In this post I’m reusing some experiments you can find here (, I had blogged about these experiments in previous posts).

If you now rerun the MWE2 generator, and make sure you merge the plugin.xml_gen with plugin.xml in the .ui project, your editor will provide some interesting features for free (if you use my examples, you can find a project wizard “New Project” => “Xtext” => “HelloInferrer Project”):

Imports with wildcards are deprecated:


You now have the context menu “Organize Imports” (Shift + Control + O); try that one in the presence of such deprecation warning and imports are organized for you:


Similarly, unused imports are reported as warnings:


Again, use “Organize Imports” to fix that!

The new feature I like most is the automatic insertion of imports! (just like in JDT and Xtend): try to get content assist for a Java type, for instance,


Accept a proposal and the import will be automatically inserted (instead of the fully qualified name):


Xtext rocks! :)

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Regular Expression Replacement in an Ant Property

I’m quite a newbie in Ant, but I thought it would be straightforward to do a regular expression replacement in a string contained in a property; in my case, I had to replace Windows backslashes with Unix slashes… apparently, unless you use the propertyregex task from Ant Contrib, that is not supported out-of-the-box: you have to pass through a file!

This stackoverflow post shows a possible solution, and starting from that, I created a macrodef to make it easier

This macro takes the property value to process ( and the property name where to store the result; it outputs the input value to a temporary file, reads it back with a regular expression replacement (which is supported for files) and store it in the specified property (the temporary file is then deleted).

Here’s an example of use


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One Eclipse Installation and Multiple Configurations

I used to have many Eclipse installations in my machines; typically they were different Juno versions downloaded from, for instance, Eclipse for RCP developers, Eclipse for DSL developers, Eclipse Modeling Tools, etc. Moreover, most of them were customized with the same plugins (for instance, Mylyn connectors) which I had to install on all of them. I preferred to have separate installations not to have a monolithic single Eclipse instance (where some features might also interfere with each other).

Then I started to use the ability of Eclipse to deal with multiple configurations, which is really a cool feature.

The idea is that you have a single Eclipse installation with all the features you always used and that you would desire in all of your Eclipse installations; then you have different directories for each “configuration”.

You can start Eclipse with a command line like the following, which uses the command line argument -configuration:

Assuming that the main Eclipse installation is in eclipse-main directory, and that the new separate configuration will be stored in eclipse-other/configuration (which will be automatically created if it does not yet exist). What you get is a running Eclipse instance with all the features and plugins of the main Eclipse installation, but all the new features which will be installed from this running instance will go in the new configuration, thus they won’t disturb the main installation!

If you try to install new software from this Eclipse running instance, you’ll see that the list of available software sites is empty, so you will have to fill such list with the typical Eclipse software sites, such as and

And then you can install new features in this Eclipse, and they will be available only in this configuration. You can then check the plugins and features directories in eclipse-other which will contain the new installed features and bundles (which will not be stored in the same directories of eclipse-main); similarly, the plugins and features directories in eclipse-other will not contain the features and bundles which are stored in the same directories of eclipse-main, though they are available in the new Eclipse configuration.

Of course, you’ll have to use the above command line each time you want this Eclipse version (you should have shell scripts to run a specific Eclipse).

Main advantages in this approach are

  1. The features you want to use in all configurations are stored in only one place, and they will be maintained only in the eclipse-main installation (e.g., kept up to date)
  2. you save some space in your hard disk (I had 4 Eclipse installations which required 2.5 Gb; with the new approach, i.e., one Eclipse main installation and 3 configurations I only need 500 Mb!)

If you can still use command line to install new features in the separate configurations (I blogged about that); you just need to adjust the command line with the -configuration parameter.

For instance, to have an Eclipse configuration in eclipse-texlipse/configuration (based on the main Eclipse installation stored in eclipse-main) with the addition of Texlipse and Subversion features I run these commands

Note that using the command line for installing new features will also store in the Eclipse configuration the specified update sites (so you will find them in the Install New Software dialog).

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Reduce disk access in Windows 7

Although I’m not a big user of Windows, sometimes I use it to test my software and products. When switching to Windows Vista and Windows 7 I’ve always noticed a huge use of the disk.

Here are some tricks I’ve used to reduce such use

First of all make sure to disable indexing for the whole hard disk (checkbox “Allow files on this drive…”)

Then stop the Windows Search service and…

make sure it is disabled (right click and the Properties)

Finally, make sure that you have no scheduled defragmentation (you can check this by pressing “Defragment now…”

This should reduce disk access, hopefully :)

any comment and suggestion is more than welcome!


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Mirror Eclipse repositories with p2.mirror Ant task

Inspired by this nice blog post, I decided it was time to try to mirror some Eclipse repositories to

  • speed up my builds that depend on target platforms
  • insulate myself from outside servers
  • be able to build also without an Internet connection
  • reduce network traffic :)

To do this I’m using p2 ant tasks for mirroring repositories.

When mirroring eclipse repositories, my main idea is to keep the path structure of the original repository URL. For instance, if you are using something like

the mirror should differ only for the base url, e.g., something like


This is useful if the p2 repositories you use for materializing your target platform are parametrized with respect to the base URL. For instance, I’m using Buckminster to materialize my target platforms (see also this post), and in my RMAP files I have something like

You see that the URLs are parametrized over the property (which defaults to If I mirror those repositories keeping the same structure

then, switching to my local mirror for target materialization it’s just a matter of passing for the property the URL of my local directory, e.g., file:/home/bettini/eclipsemirror, without even changing my RMAP files.

So let’s start mirroring! We need to define an Ant script for the p2 antRunner.

For instance, for mirroring the whole orbit repository (with that particular drops version) we create this script, let’s call it mirror-orbit.xml:

Note that we keep in the target dir the same path structure of the original repository.

Since these Ant tasks need to be run via the Eclipse antRunner application, you need a full installation of Eclipse on the machine that will run the task. And you run this task with a command line like the following

Of course you can choose any target dir; the idea is however to always use the same target dir so that all repositories will be mirrored in that path.

Mirroring an entire repository might not always be the case, especially for Juno main release repository, which is quite huge. But you can specify in the Ant task the installable units you’re interested in; then, the p2 task will only mirror those installable units (and all its dependencies). For instance,

This task will mirror all the features that should let you define a target platform for RCP development with EMF and CDO.

NOTE: if you try to mirror org.eclipse.platform.sdk from the releases/juno repository, you will see that it will actually mirror the whole repository! (see also this forum post).

If you get some warnings during the mirror about unsolvable dependencies, you can ignore them: basically those dependencies are in a different repositories, and probably you will mirror those repositories too later.

Of course you can use several p2.mirror elements in the same Ant task. For example, this is the one we use in Emf Components, to have a mirror for our target platform: it also mirrors Swtbot and Xtext SDKs:

Final warning: it might take some time for the mirror task to complete (usually hours depending on your connection and load) and it will also take some hard disk space (for the above mirror it takes about 2 Gb).

You may have to experiment a bit to get all the features you need in the mirror; for instance, I didn’t know about the draw2d above, but I had to add it since during target materialization that feature was requested by some other feature. If you’re lost about that, you can always mirror the whole thing 😉

There’s also a follow up post showing how to run this ant task from Eclipse!

But then your builds will be faster :)

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Install Adobe Reader in Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal 64bit

Acrobat Reader used to be available from Ubuntu Partner repository, but it is not available anymore in Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal!

So you have to download the .deb package from and install it:

However, if you have a 64bit system, do not forget to install also these packages:

Otherwise, acroread will fail

acroread: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

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Accessing your remote Ubuntu machine with VNC and ssh

If you want to access your remote Ubuntu machine with VNC, in particular by tunnelling through ssh, there is already some documentation which can be found here. However, at least for me, the procedure explained there does not work out of the box. So here’s what I had to do to make it work.

First of all you need to install in the machines the following packages:

  • remote machine: xvfb x11vnc openssh-server
  • local machine: xtightvncviewer openssh-client

Then, the script to run on your client machine to access the server has to be slightly modified as follows

where you will have to replace USER with your user on the remote machine, and REMOTEIP with the address of your remote machine.

Basically, the changes I had to make to the original script were to add the -auth command line option specifying the path to the .Xauthority, and the command line option -create to actually start an instance of the X server on the remote machine.

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