How to use Python to hack your Eclipse IDE

The Eclipse Advanced Scripting Environment (EASE) project enables you to extend and supercharge your Eclipse IDE like never before. As a preview for my talk at Eclipsecon North America, I put together a how-to guide which you can read at

How to use Python to hack your Eclipse IDE

Here are the kinds of things you can do with EASE:

  1. Improve your code quality
  2. Automate tedious tasks
  3. Prototype new features
  4. Quickly extend the user interface
  5. Integrate with third-party tools

My favourite hack is #3 where you can, with about 70 lines of Python, add automatic saving of dirty editors functionality to Eclipse. Something to tide you over until this feature is added to Eclipse proper.

3 Reasons I Love Eclipse

I love Eclipse. Not just the IDE, but the whole community and philosophy of it. There are no shortage of folks who will tell you how they hate Eclipse.  For a change I’d like to tell you why I love Eclipse.

  1. Polyglot IDE – Eclipse IDE is really great because you can use the same open environment for multiple languages. Java, Python and C are three of our staple languages and I often end up using them in combinations. Eclipse understands each of these really, really well and allows for some powerful integrations. There’s no place I’d rather run some Python on a target processor while debugging a Linux kernel.
  2. Determined developers – with all its functionality and extensibility maximising the power of Eclipse is pretty hard. The people in the community who do use Eclipse and master its complexity are full of grit; problem-solvers who won’t give up on their end goals easily. As a result, it’s a great community to be part of.
  3. Continuous evolution – early on in my career I worked with hardware, then I switched to software and today work involves keeping up with several different technologies. Likewise, over the years Eclipse has evolved a lot. Early on it was just an IDE, then a rich-client framework and today it features many thriving working groups growing in areas like IoT. Adapting and learning can be quite a journey, so it’s great to have a community along for the ride.