Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming

Adding IDL to a Current Eclipse Installation

QUESTION: I currently use an Eclipse development environment for JAVA development. Is it possible to use this for IDL 7, or do I have to have a separate Eclipse installation for IDL?

ANSWER: Adding IDL to a current Eclipse installation is not officially supported by ITTVIS, but they have offered a couple of suggestions for people brave enough to want to try it. First of all, the following suggestions will only work with Eclipse 3.3 or higher. There were a number of important changes in going from Eclipse 3.2 to Eclipse 3.3 that the IDL Workbench relies on. If you want to try this, follow these steps:

  1. Find these three core IDL plug-ins in your IDL/idlde/plugins directory:
  2. Copy these JAR files into your Eclipse/plugins directory.
  3. If you want the IDL documenation, then you will need to copy all of the com.rsi.idl.doc.*.jar plug-ins as well.
  4. If you want the language packs, you will need to copy the ones with "*.nl*.jar", too.
  5. Set the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable to point to both the idlde/bin.linux.x86 and the idl70/bin/bin.linux.x86 directories.
  6. Make sure the JDMLDir, BMLDir, and DMLDir environment variables point to the idlde/bin.linux.x86 directory. On Windows there is no platform- specific sub-directory.
  7. Make a shortcut or script to your eclipse.exe. On Windows, the shortcut should have these command line options:
    C:\Eclipse3.3\eclipse.exe -vmargs -DDMLDir="C:\Program Files\ITT
    \IDL70\idlde" -DJDMLDir="C:\Program Files\ITT\IDL70\idlde" -DBMLDir="C:
    \Program Files\ITT\IDL70\idlde"  -DIDLDir="C:\Program Files\ITT
    \IDL70\bin\bin.x86" -DIDL_DIR="C:\Program Files\ITT\IDL70\"

    On UNIX, you could use a shell script like the following, named idl_eclipse, to start Eclipse with IDL:

    export IDL_DIR
    export LD_LIBRARY_PATH
    eclipse -vmargs -DJDMLDir=/software/rsi/idl70/idlde/bin.linux.x86 \
    -DBMLDir=/software/rsi/idl70/idlde/bin.linux.x86 \
    -DDMLDir=/software/rsi/idl70/idlde/bin.linux.x86 \
    -DIDLDir=/software/rsi/idl70/bin/bin.linux.x86 \
    -DIDL_DIR=/software/rsi/idl70 &
  8. The first time you start Eclipse, you will not see the IDL Perspective, and the IDL process will not be started. Go to the Window->Open Perspective->Other menu selection and choose IDL. You will see numerous Java null exception errors, and IDL will attempt to start, but fail.
  9. Quit Eclipse, and re-start. At this point, you should be good to go!

The (one?) person who has tried this on LINUX, makes these observations.

If anyone else tries this and has insights to add, please let us know on the IDL Newsgroup.

This testimonial has just come in.

It works! Thanks very much, I can now run IDL in Eclipse/Europa. All I need do now is configure Europa so it's the same as my previous version of Eclipse. Or I could configure the IDL workbench so it's the same as my previous setup for Eclipse.

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