From an Acceleo code generator to an Eclipse plugin
Acceleo helps you to create, improve, deploy and maintain easily a code generator. While most of users know Acceleo as an Eclipse plugin used to create a code generators, they tend to forget that the Acceleo runtime can also be embedded in other tools. You can use the Java launcher created by Acceleo to launch the generation of your main templates from any kind of Java application and you can also deploy your generator as another Eclipse plugin very easily. Today I would like to focus this post on the improvements made by Laurent and I on the deployment of Acceleo generators as Eclipse plugins.
First of all, you will have to start by creating your code generator. While doing so, you can see that Acceleo will create several files that will ease the deployment of the generator like “build.properties” and “build.acceleo”. Those files contains all the necessary informations to build the Acceleo project.
When you generator is ready to be deployed, you can create its Eclipse feature. In order to do that, you just have to create a new feature project and then you have to initialize it with your Acceleo project.
Then you can create the update site for this feature by creating a new update site project that will be responsible of the deployment of the feature created earlier. When your update site is done, you just have to click on the build all button. This action will compile your Acceleo modules and prepare them for their deployment.
Finally you just have to make your update site available to your customers. Then, they can install your generator from your update site like any other Eclipse plug-in. When the generator is installed, it is integrated seamlessly in the Eclipse environment. Your customers won’t even realized that Acceleo is used.