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Eclipse Callisto Project Profile: Web Tools Platform

The Web Tools Platform (WTP) is a powerful set of Eclipse add-ons that make Web application development with Eclipse easier and faster. Take a look under the hood and see how it can help you.

he Web Tools Platform (WTP) project is one of the more exciting components of the new Callisto product suite released with Eclipse 3.2. Based on contributions and participation from many major players in the Eclipse field, WTP provides a comprehensive suite of tools to assist developers working on J2EE Web applications, making their jobs easier and more productive.

WTP is actually composed of two sub-projects: the J2EE Standard Tools (JST) and Web Standard Tools (WST) projects. The JST project provides a rich set of tools aimed at improving J2EE development productivity, including feature-rich text and graphical editors for the different types of J2EE files, database access tools, and wizards for Web service development. The WST project provides integrated support for running applications on different Web servers from within Eclipse, allowing you to run and test your J2EE applications in a uniform manner no matter which application server you use.

WTP also comes with a wide range of new project templates, designed for J2EE application projects. The Dynamic Web Project, for example, helps you write, test, and debug Java Web Archive (WAR) applications, while the Enterprise Application Project is aimed at building Enterprise Archive (EAR) applications.

This article examines the main features of WTP, and shows how it can enable you to develop J2EE applications more quickly and easily.

Installing WTP

There are several ways to install Eclipse with the WTP project. Arguably the easiest is to use the Remote Update site. To do this, just go to the Remote Update window ("Help -> Software Updates -> Find and Install"), and select the Callisto Discovery Site. Eclipse will propose the full range of Callisto plug-ins. Select "Web and J2EE development" (see Figure 1). You also will need to select its dependencies: "Enabling Features", "Graphical Editors and Frameworks", and "Models and Model Development". Or, if you aren't in too much of a hurry, just select everything; you will certainly find most of the other plug-ins useful as well.

Click to enlarge

Figure 1. Installing WTP from the Remote Site

Another possibility is to download a pre-bundled installer from one of the several Eclipse Foundation Members. The one proposed by IBM, for example, bundles Eclipse 3.2 with WTP. This is useful if you don't already have an installation of Eclipse 3.2, or you don't mind ditching your existing configuration and plug-ins.

Once you have installed WTP, restart your IDE and take a look at the new features!

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