Downloading, installing and configuring ''Eclipse''

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Eclipse is an open-source, extendable development environment that supports an XML-aware editor. It is free for non-commercial use. It can be useful for creating, editing, and doing basic validation of XML document and XML Schema documents.

This page describes the process of downloading and installing the Eclipse editor on a Windows 7 machine. Other platforms follow similar procedures, with differences in the details. If you happen to know the details for a platform not already mentioned below, please do add them.

Note that all versions of Eclipse require the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), version 1.6 or better. Unless you're working on a machine more than about 3 years old that is not kept updated and patched, you likely will have this available to you.

Downloading the Right Package

The bare Eclipse editor doesn't provide much other than a framework to plug modules into. Unless you like rolling your own from scratch, you'll want one of the pre-packaged spins. The one that has most of what we want installed is called "Eclipse IDE for Java Developers" (not the one "for Java EE Developers"). Here's what the right download bar looks like for my Windows download:


You can download it from this page:

You will be offered both 32- and 64-bit versions. Regardless of what your system CPU actually is, you must download the version that is compatible with your JRE. My Windows 7 machine, for example, is a 64-bit machine running a 64-bit version of Windows, but the JRE is only 32 bits. Attempting to run the 64-bit version of Eclipse yields this error:


(There are other solutions to this particular problem - adjusting which Eclipse version you download is probably the easiest.)

Unzip the File and Install

Unzip the file to create the Eclipse installation directory tree. (Windows unzipping problem)

Installation consists of moving that directory tree to some convenient location, where "convenient" depends on you OS and how you prefer to work. On a Linux machine, you're going to want the eclipse executable in your path. On my Windows machine, a created an eclipse directory under my user directory and added a shortcut on my desktop for the "eclipse" application file. The first time you run eclipse you will have to specify a place to hold your output files, e.g., the XML and schema files you'll be creating.

If you've never used an IDE before, now would be an excellent time to look over the "Workbench basics" information available via the "Welcome" icon on the eclipse splash screen.