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Theses instructions should work fine on any Debian based distribution such as Debian, Ubuntu, LinuxMint, Xubuntu, Kbuntu and others.
There are several ways to download and install Eclipse IDE to your Linux box, you can do it automatically from the comfort of your software center or using the Linux terminal with few commands or manually downloading and installing Eclipse IDE from the Eclipse project website or other alternative download sites.
NOTE: This method is the most recommended because you will have the benefits of automate all the installation process and get automatic security patches and bug fixes updates when the software is installed from the repositories.
sudo apt-get install eclipse
NOTE: For manual download and installation you got to have JAVA runtime previously installed or Eclipse IDE will not run
To install java runtime on your Linux box open a terminal and type folloging command and wait until the installation finish:
sudo apt-get install sun-java6
You can also install java from your software center just type "openjdk java 6" and install the package.
To get a copy of Eclipse IDE follow these steps:
cd ~/Downloads/eclipse/ eclipse
NOTE: At the Eclipse download page you can see many versions of Eclipse IDE, all of them are basically the same Eclipse with a bunch of extensions pre-installed to do specific task by default Eclipse IDE comes with all the tools needed to develop JAVA projects but you can install more extensions to develop in other languages, click in the link Compare Packages to see a complete char of all the extensions included on each Eclipse Package build, you can try one of these pre-build packages specifically created for PHP development some of them are official releases from the Eclipse website and others are independent projects:
Eclipse IDE is not just a editor it is a platform and can be used to many thing, that is why it implement a very flexible philosophy to denominate and describe the way it display and organize the information, the most relevant parts of eclipse interface are:
Is important to understand how this perspective philosophy works, for example The "PHP perspective" is used to edit PHP code so is coherent to display views related to the PHP code edition, views to manage the project files and views to navigate trough the code, the following is a typical "PHP perspective":
In the other hand the "Debug Perspective" share some views with the "PHP perspective" but have a different arrangement of views and got more different views related to the code debugging operations such as:
You can switch betweend perspectives selecting them at "Tool bar --> window --> Open perspective" or you can click in the perspective buttons located at the far right of the "The tool bar with buttons"
If you don't feel happy with any of this perspective configurations and how their views are arranged, you can create your very own perspectives and add as much views as you want and arrange them the way that makes you feel good, you just got to:
So far you should be able to know how to play with Eclipse IDE and understand it interface philosophy, if you want to see a video demonstration about Eclipse IDE to get a preview and taste some of it powers check this out Webinar: Using Eclipse for Joomla! Development
When you execute Eclipse for the first time, it ask you to create a "workspace" the workspace is a folder where Eclipse IDE will store 2 things all your custom configurations and all or some of your projects.
All your projects will be separated by folders inside the workspace folder like this
/home/youruser/workspace/project-a /home/youruser/workspace/project-b /home/youruser/workspace/joomla_component /home/youruser/workspace/joomla-test-site
You can have more than one workspace, each of them will contain it own custom configurations and will not affect the information of other workspaces, for example you can have a workspace located at "/home/youruser/java-workspace/" dedicated to contain Java projects and an a separated workspace like this "/home/youruser/php-workspace/" dedicated to PHP development.
As you can see your workspace folder could be on any valid folder location, for the purposes of PHP development and our convenience we can set our workspace folder in the same location were our web server store it web files for example "/home/youruser/lamp/public_html/" this way Eclipse IDE and our web server will use the same location for our web files.
Is important to note that you have the additional option to place your project files outside the workspace locations if you wish, this way Eclipse gives you an additional flexibility in certain cases, for example, lets say we got a workspace located at "/home/youruser/workspace/" witch contains several random projects, but our server store it files in a different location at "/home/youruser/lamp/public_html/" of course we want to put our PHP project there so we can edit the files and serve the pages at the same time, so all you need to do is to create a folder like this "/home/youruser/lamp/public_html/my-joomla-project", then create a new PHP project and manually specify the path of our new project.
You may ask what is the difference of project that are inside and outside the workspace folder, the only noticeable difference is at the moment of creating new projects, when you create a project inside the workspace Eclipse IDE will automatically create a folder for that project with the same name of the project itself, in the other hand if the project is outside the workspace location you can set a random name for the project and then you got to set the path of the project manually regardless of the destination folder name.
A final note about the behavior of creating new project is that Eclipse IDE will not let you link an external project that is actually inside your current workspace location (Duh!), also you can manually create any folder inside your Eclise IDE workspace location but that does not means Eclipse will recognize such folders as a project at all, when you create the new project from Eclipse IDE that shares the name of an existing folder that already exist in your workspace Eclipse will automatically link all it content to your new project.
When you create a new workspace Eclipse IDE will automatically create a hidden folder called ".metadata" it will contain all our custom global configurations about the editors, perspectives and views, all this configurations will be inherited by any new project by default, but if you wish you can override part of the global configurations with custom configurations values specifics for each project.
When you create a new project Eclipse IDE will create these hidden files and folders inside your new project folder:
.project .buildpath .settings
This files and folders contain information about your custom project configurations and building information that will let Eclipse show tree views of dependencies and classes among many other things.
For your Eclipse IDE you will need to install more extension for PHP development and other tools to help you in your project development journey, follow this steps and indications:
Note: You can also use the search box, but for some reason (maybe a bug) Eclipse IDE hangs for few seconds on every search.
Those are all the extension to install for now, they should be enough to do local and remote PHP development, nonetheless you can experiment and tray all the extensions you want.
In this case we need to configure Eclipse for PHP development, so you should add the following perspectives:
Now you can explore local and remote PHP project, how to configure this tools will be explained in this series of articles, but for now leave it for the future.
These are some of the configuration you can do to your editors to improve the user experience:
Some people like to see the white spaces represented in the editor to do so:
To highlight some the parts of the code with stronger colors, follow this steps:
If you want that eclipse assist you on check the grammar of your text, enable this option.
Code folding is a nice feature of some editor, it allow you to fold the code in certain data structures like functions, classes and other structures such as classes, conditionals and iterators, we are going to fold all the possible except classes content to be able to check and study PHP files quickly
Eclipse provides some nice utilities to automatically clean the source code of some extra garbage such as cleaning empty lines, deleting unnecessary trials spaces, formatting to the code and more. To activate some of this features follow these instructions:
By default Eclipse got some configuration to limit the amount of RAM memory, this configurations works fine for most users but if you 2GB of ram or more you should consider set this values to improve Eclipse IDE performance.
First you got to locate the "eclipse.ini" file that contains some few Eclipse IDE configurations.
NOTE: If you found a config file at "/etc/eclipse.ini" then don't edit the file at "/usr/share/eclipse/eclipse.ini"
This is the content of the original "eclipse.ini" file
-startup plugins/org.eclipse.equinox.launcher_1.2.0.dist.jar --launcher.library plugins/org.eclipse.equinox.launcher.gtk.linux.x86_64_1.1.100.dist -showsplash org.eclipse.platform --launcher.XXMaxPermSize 256m --launcher.defaultAction openFile -vmargs -Xms40m -Xmx384m -Dorg.eclipse.equinox.p2.reconciler.dropins.directory=/usr/share/eclipse/dropins
To see the full reference about these parameters visit 
Change the following values to increase the amount of RAM memory used by Eclipse
-startup plugins/org.eclipse.equinox.launcher_1.2.0.dist.jar --launcher.library plugins/org.eclipse.equinox.launcher.gtk.linux.x86_64_1.1.100.dist -showsplash org.eclipse.platform --launcher.XXMaxPermSize 512m --launcher.defaultAction openFile -vmargs -Xms512m -Xmx512m -Dorg.eclipse.equinox.p2.reconciler.dropins.directory=/usr/share/eclipse/dropins
If you got a lot of RAM memory you can try with these other configuration
-startup plugins/org.eclipse.equinox.launcher_1.2.0.dist.jar --launcher.library plugins/org.eclipse.equinox.launcher.gtk.linux.x86_64_1.1.100.dist -showsplash org.eclipse.platform --launcher.XXMaxPermSize 1024m --launcher.defaultAction openFile -vmargs -Xms1024m -Xmx1024m -Dorg.eclipse.equinox.p2.reconciler.dropins.directory=/usr/share/eclipse/dropins