Eclipse is among the most popular development tools, more than 50% of the developers I know have used Eclipse at some point of time in their professional career or learning phase.
You can use Eclipse to develop applications of all sizes and complexity. Eclipse offers many features out of the box, its capabilities can be further extended by using Eclipse plugins available in the marketplace.
While there are thousands of plugins available in the marketplace, this article will focus on the best Eclipse plugins in terms of the overall usage statistics as well as the quality of the plugin itself.
Why Use Eclipse Plugins in the first place?
During earlier days, Eclipse was used majorly as Java IDE but now it is used for programming in almost every language including Python, Scala, Kotlin, Ruby, PHP, Android, and many others.
Developers need plugins for all kinds of reasons, it can be as simple as modifying the default theme to the one that most suits one’s style or easy integration with third-party tools like SVN. Given below are some of the top reasons to install plugins –
- Styling the user interface with a dark theme, light theme, and other colorful options
- Speed development with frameworks like Spring Boot.
- Integration with version control systems like Subversion (SVN)
- Programming support for other languages like Python and Scala.
- To detect quality issues like static code analysis, as you type.
- Enhanced support for application servers like JBoss or Tomcat.
- And the list is very long.
Let us look at some of the popular and most used Eclipse plugins –
1. Darkest Dark Theme
With over one million installs, Darkest Dark Theme ranks among the top 10 Eclipse plugins of all times. As of writing, this plugin is the #1 installed plugin in the last 30 days.
The reason for such a huge popularity is very simple, it makes Eclipse UI look beautiful and developers love the way icons, fonts, and everything else is transformed.
There are simple settings to change the color scheme to standard dark, light, or customize the way you want. Options include a selection of icon sets for windows, mac, or even for Linux. Change editor colors, keep the default background or change that too, enable or disable breadcrumbs, and much more.
2. Subclipse – Best Plugin for SVN
Subclipse provides integration to Subversion (SVN) and provides features to perform SVN operations from within the Eclipse workbench.
Visual tools with CollabNet Merge Client for merge tracking and Mylyn connector to automatically create changeset are two of the key additional capabilities that you get with Subcliplse.
Subclipse also provides an efficient revision graph. This feature allows you to view all the merges and the commits across Subversion branches.
Also, given that this plugin is maintained by the core SVN commit, you always get the latest and greatest set of features. In short, if you are working with SVN and Eclipse, this is a must-have and best Eclipse plugin.
3. Spring Tools 4
This plugin empowers Eclipse with the tools and features required to develop Spring Boot Enterprise applications. Spring Boot is a very popular Rapid application development module to speed up development using Spring Framework.
Some of the key features offered by Spring Tools 4 include –
- Advanced Code Completion included for Spring elements
- Smart navigation to spring elements throughout the code
- Validation and content assist
- Tools for microservices development
The Spring Insight console gives a real-time view of the metrics on application performance which helps the developers to identify and diagnose problems from their desktops.
Spring Tool Suite supports an application for local or virtual and cloud-based servers. For internal business operations and development, this plugin is available free of cost.
SonarLint helps you write better quality code by highlighting any issues in the code, as you type. It is more like a spell checker of the programming language.
With SonarLint, you can also check a set of existing files altogether, or exclude some files that you do not need to check for quality. This plugin also lets you connect with the sonarCloud to stay in sync with your team to work on the latest code.
You can also enable/disable rules used to detect issues for many languages including Java, Python, PHP, C++, ABAP, APEX, and many more.
5. TestNG for Eclipse
This plugin allows developers to run TestNG tests in Eclipse. TestNG Eclipse plugin provides options to run suites, groups, or individual methods, errors are reported in a separate tab. You also get many templates that make it easy to create tests. While JUnit comes by default with Eclipse, TestNG users need to get this plugin to make things work.
Like JUnit, TestNg is a very powerful and easy to use open-source framework for testing in Java. Though it is inspired by NUnit and JUnit, it brings in many additional features.
6. JBoss Tools – Must Have Plugin
Working with JBoss as your application server, this plugin is for you. The plugin is a collection of multiple tools and provides support for JBoss and a wide range of related technologies including Docker, Hibernate, JBoss AS, CDI, Aerogear Hybrid Mobile, Apache Cordova, FeedHenry, JSF, (X)HTML, Seam, Maven, Freemarker, and much more.
This plugin also brings in Quarkus tools that provide wizards to create Quarkus projects from within Eclipse, along with the option to launch applications in Run or Debug mode.
7. PyDev – Eclipse Python Plugin
PyDev transforms Eclipse into a full-featured Python IDE. Apart from Python, it also supports development in Jython, IronPython, Django Framework and Django templates Editor utilizing LiClipse.
PyDev provides a good debugger and also allows features like type hinting, tokens browser, interactive console, refactoring, code completion, code analysis, and much more.
You might want to look at this article here that ranks PyDev with Eclipse as #1 freely available IDE for Python. So, if you are dealing with Python, PyDev is the bare minimum you need.
8. Enhanced Class Decompiler
Need to decompile the third party provided classes or debug classes without the source code, this is the plugin you need in your Eclipse arsenal. This plugin provides many integrations including CFR, Jad, m2e plugin, eclipse class editor, and provides support for Javadoc.
This is also an open-source, free to use and ad-free plugin, it is the outcome of reverse-engineering done on the existing “Eclipse Decompiler” plugin but comes with improved security and tries to ensure privacy.
9. Scala IDE – Best for Scala Dev
Looking forward to doing development in Scala, this is the best plugin available out there in the wild that transforms Eclipse into a full-featured Scala development environment. Scala IDE brings in many features including –
- Support for mixed development using both Scala and Java with clean references between the two languages.
- Scala support for code completion, brace matching, go to definition, code alignment, eros and warning highlights, indentation, and much more.
- Interactive Scala console, Integrated debugger, and incremental build.
- And much more.
10. Maven Integration for Eclipse (Luna/Mars)
This plugin allows the integration of Apache Maven into Eclipse. You can manage simple and multi-module Maven projects alike and execute Maven builds using the Eclipse interface. Also, It makes interaction with Maven repositories possible.
The various uses of this plugin include creating Maven projects and importing them in Eclipse, dependency management and integration with the Eclipse classpath, download and update dependency automatically, create projects with Maven Archetypes, search and browse Maven repositories, POM Management, materialize a project from a Maven POM, adapt nested and multi-module Maven projects to the Eclipse IDE, text-based and form-based POM editor, GUI presentation of resolved dependencies as well as dependency tree presentation.
11. EclEmma Java Code Coverage
Another popular plugin in Eclipse is the EclEmma Java Code Coverage. This plugin helps to bring code coverage analysis directly into the Eclipse workbench.
The main features of this plugin include a Fast development/test cycle that allows launches from within the workbench. Also, this plugin allows us to immediately summarize and highlight coverage results in the Java source code editors. Meanwhile, there is no need to modify your projects or perform any other setup while using EclEmma.
As mentioned above, the fast development/ test cycle, the rich coverage analysis, and the non-invasive nature of this plugin makes it one of the most popular eclipse plugins for developers.
12. EGit – Git Integration
Git is one of the most popular source code management systems out there in the wild. Being a distributed SCM, Git enforces the availability of a full copy of all revisions with every developer.
Egit – Git integration for Eclipse plugin provides integration with Git and lets you manage versions and revisions of code from within Eclipse itself. While working with a team of developers, SCM tracks the history of changes across contributors and ensures merging.
In short, if you are dealing with Git, this is the plugin to use.
13. Cucumber Eclipse Plugin
Cucumber is fast becoming the tool of choice for behavior-driven development (BDD). Cucumber offers smart features to support cross-functional workflow for working in teams.
So, if you are developing in Eclipse and using Cucumber as your BDD tool, then this is the plugin to bring Cucumber in Eclipse, given below are some of the features you get –
- Support for Lambda Expressions with Java 8
- Pretty Formatting
- Feature file content assistance
- Formatters for feature runners
- I18n support
The plugins mentioned above tops the table in terms of popularity. These plugins are downloaded by a large number of developers. Lots of factors make them stand out as the best Eclipse plugins.
Whether you need one or more of these depends completely on your requirements, some are generic and some are language-specific like PyDev for Python IDE. You can also visit the Eclipse marketplace to check out more of such plugins.