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Theses instructions should work fine on any Debian based distribution such as Debian, Ubuntu, LinuxMint, Xubuntu, Kbuntu and others.
There is 2 ways to download and install Eclipse IDE in your Linux box, you can do it automatically from the comfort of your software center or the Linux terminal with few commands or manually downloading and installing Eclipse IDE from the Eclipse project website.
NOTE: This method is the most recommended because you will have the benefits of automate all the installation process and get automatic security 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 your execute Eclipse for the first time, it ask you to create a "workspace" the workspace is a folder where Eclipse IDE will save the configurations about your editors, perspectives and views also the workspace folder is normally used locate your project files separated by folders, nonetheless you can place your project files outside the workplace folder if you like.
The workplace folder name could any valid folder name, but by default Eclipse IDE set the name "workplace" to it, and it tries to locate the folder at your documents folder or your home folder, ex "/home/youruser/workspace"
When you create new PHP project and you decide to place it inside the workplace folder then it may looks like this:
/home/youruser/workspace/myphptutorial /home/youruser/workspace/joomla_component /home/youruser/workspace/test
Rhose 3 folders represent 3 different projects inside the same "workspace" and they will share the same editor and perspective layout configuration for Eclipse IDE.
The configurations about the editors and perspective layouts are specifically located at the hidden folder called ".metadata" which is right inside the workspace folder, this means you can move the workplace folder from one computer to another and work in Eclipse from another computer with all your custom configurations and projects just easy.
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:
Those are all the extension to install for now, they should be enough to work with local and remote PHP and Joomla development projects, nonetheless you can experiment and tray all the extensions you like.
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 conditionals, 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 1024m --launcher.defaultAction openFile -vmargs -Xms1024m -Xmx1024m -Dorg.eclipse.equinox.p2.reconciler.dropins.directory=/usr/share/eclipse/dropins
If those values consume too much memory for you try using this alternative 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 512m --launcher.defaultAction openFile -vmargs -Xms512m -Xmx512m -Dorg.eclipse.equinox.p2.reconciler.dropins.directory=/usr/share/eclipse/dropins