How to Extend Oracle Solaris Studio with NetBeans Plug-Ins

by Vladimir Voskresensky and Egor Ushakov

How to locate, install, and integrate NetBeans plugins into Oracle Solaris Studio, and resolve plub-in problems that might arise.

Published July 2012

Plugin Installation Location
Extending Your IDE With Plugins
Adding Plugins for the Source Editor
Integration with Version Control Systems
Adding Other Extensions
Installing Plugins in a Multiuser IDE
Resolving Plugin Problems
See Also
About the Authors

The Oracle Solaris Studio IDE has a rich set of functionality that is provided by the base NetBeans IDE and additional unique features, such as integration with the dbx debugger, which are not available in the NetBeans IDE.

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NetBeans IDE is a modular developer tool for a wide range of development tasks. You can add functionality to the NetBeans IDE by installing plugin code modules known as NetBeans plugins. Because the Oracle Solaris Studio IDE is based on the NetBeans IDE, it provides access to the many plugins available to the NetBeans community. You can extend the Oracle Solaris Studio IDE with NetBeans plugins as described in this article.

Plugins are installed directly from the IDE, which accesses the NetBeans portal using the internet. Therefore, if you want to extend the IDE, you must be running the IDE on a system that can access the internet to download the plugins.

Plugin Installation Location

The plugin installation location depends on how Oracle Solaris Studio was installed:

  • If Oracle Solaris Studio was installed by a system administrator using the package installer, user-installed plugins are placed in the user directory ~/.solstudio/ide-12.3-OS-architecture, by default. However, a system administrator can install plugins into the installation directory so that they can be used by all users on the system. See the section "Installing Plugins in a Multiuser IDE" later in this document.
  • If Oracle Solaris Studio was installed from a tar file, user-installed plugins are placed in the installation directory if the user has write access. If the user does not have write access to the installation directory, plugins are installed in the ~/.solstudio/ide-12.3-OS-architecture directory.

The method used to install the Oracle Solaris Studio software is also relevant to how you deal with any problems with installed plugins. See the "Resolving Plugin Problems" section for more information.

Extending Your IDE With Plugins

The IDE enables you to manage plugins using the Plugins dialog box, which you use to install plugins across the network from the NetBeans Plugin Portal, activate and deactivate the plugins after installation, and uninstall plugins if you no longer need them.

To see the list of available plugins for the IDE, choose Tools -> Plugins and click the Available Plugins tab in the Plugins dialog box.

Figure 1

Figure 1. Plugins Dialog Box

If the list on the Available Plugins tab is empty, click Reload Catalog and wait for the list to populate. The IDE must have network access to locate the available plugins. If it cannot access the Certified Plugins catalog, the IDE prompts you to check your proxy settings, which you can do on the Settings tab of the Plugins dialog box.

To download and install a plugin, select the checkbox for the plugin and click Install. For example, to activate Java support in the IDE, you would select the checkbox for the Java plugin in the list and click Install.

Plugins are also available for PHP, J2EE, J2ME, Tcl, PL/SQL, Ruby, ANTRL, and many other technologies. You can use the Search field in the dialog box to locate the plugin you need.

Adding Plugins for the Source Editor

To emulate vi-style editing in the IDE Source Editor, you can add support for jVi, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

Figure 2. Source Editor Window Showing an Example of jVi Functionality

Adding this functionality involves installing two plugins:

  1. From the Available Plugins tab in the Plugins dialog box, install the "jVi for NB-7.0 Update Center" plugin.

    This plugin installs an update center so that jVi can be installed. After the installation is complete, there is a pause while the jVi update center information is retrieved.

  2. Click Reload Catalog in the Available Plugins tab.
  3. Search for "jVI" to find the "jVI for NetBeans" plugin.
  4. Install the "jVi for NetBeans" plugin.

See for more information about the jVi plugin.

Other plugins are available for the Source Editor through the Plugins dialog box, including plugins that provide the following functionality:

  • Copy and paste history, which extends the clipboard capacity
  • AutoSave, to automatically save unsaved files within a predefined interval
  • Show and change line endings, which allows you to change all line endings in the file you are currently editing

Integration with Version Control Systems

By default, the IDE integrates three version control systems: CVS, Subversion, and Mercurial. However, only CVS client software is included as part of the IDE. To use Subversion or Mercurial in the IDE, you must have the respective client software installed separately on your system.

  • No special setup is necessary in order to use CVS in the IDE. You can use CVS to check out the files located in a remote repository to a local working directory on your system.
  • Before you can take advantage of the IDE's Subversion integration, you need to have Subversion client software installed on your system. The IDE works with Subversion client versions 1.3.x and higher. The IDE's Subversion integration works by interacting with the Subversion client to carry out the commands. You can download Subversion as a binary package here.
  • Before you can take advantage of the IDE's Mercurial integration, you need to have Mercurial client software installed on your system. The IDE works with Mercurial client versions 1.04 and higher. The IDE's Mercurial integration works by using the same commands as the Mercurial command line interface. You can download Mercurial as either sources or as a binary package here.

You can add plugins for additional version control systems to integrate their functionality into the IDE. Plugins are available through the Plugins dialog box for the following:

  • Git
  • Clearcase

Adding Other Extensions

The following are some other plugins extensions you might want to add to your IDE:

  • Gdbserver, which lets you attach to gdbserver and debug programs remotely from the IDE.


    Figure 3. Attach Dialog Box Showing gdbserver as a Debugger Choice

  • Hudson, which provides support for the Hudson continuous integration server

    Figure 4

    Figure 4. Services Window Showing Hudson Build Servers

  • Quick File Chooser, an alternative file chooser

    Figure 5

    Figure 5. Quick File Chooser Dialog Box

Installing Plugins in a Multiuser IDE

By default, plugins are installed in your user directory in ~/.solstudio/ide-12.3-OS-architecture. If you are using a multiuser installation of the IDE, a privileged user can install a plugin globally (in the Oracle Solaris Studio installation directory) so that it is available to all users of the IDE.

To install a plugin globally, do the following:

  1. Start the IDE as a user who has write access to the Oracle Solaris Studio installation directory.
  2. Choose Tools -> Plugins.
  3. In the Plugins dialog box, click the Settings tab and select the checkbox Force install into shared directories.

    Figure 6

    Figure 6. Settings Tab of the Plugins Dialog Box

    Note: To install a plugin globally, you must have write permission to the Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 installation directory. If you do not have write permission, the IDE displays a message when you try to select the checkbox.

  4. Click the Available Plugins tab, select the checkbox for the plugin you want to install, and click Install.

Resolving Plugin Problems

When Oracle Solaris Studio software is installed using the package installer, updates to the Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 IDE will be delivered in Oracle Solaris Studio product patches, not through the NetBeans auto-update feature. The auto-update feature is disabled in the Oracle Solaris Studio IDE. You should not enable the NetBeans auto-update feature in the Oracle Solaris Studio IDE because it can cause incompatibilities in the IDE.

If you have installed plugins, there could potentially be incompatibilities if the Oracle Solaris Studio IDE is updated with product patches. For example, it is possible that some modules are updated in the patch but other modules that belong to a plugin you have installed are not updated. You might see an error message during the IDE startup, for example, that some module requires version 2.0 of another module, but only version 1.0 is available. If this happens, you can disable the module that cannot start and continue.

If possible, you should uninstall any plugins that have compatibility issues. However, it is possible for the incompatibilities to prevent uninstalling the plugin, so you need to remove all plugins and reinstall plugins that work correctly.

Do the following to permanently remove plugins if you cannot do so from the IDE:

  • If Oracle Solaris Studio software was installed with the package installer on Oracle Solaris 10 or from the IPS repository on Oracle Solaris 11, and you installed plugins as a regular user, delete the directory ide-12.3-OS-architecture from your Oracle Solaris Studio user directory, which is located by default in ~/.solstudio. This will delete all plugins you have installed and also remove your IDE option settings and list of recently used projects. The directory is recreated without the plugins when you start the IDE.
  • If Oracle Solaris Studio software was installed with the package installer and plugins were installed globally as described in "Installing Plugins in a Multiuser IDE," if there are incompatibilities with plugins after applying the patches, you might need to reinstall the Oracle Solaris Studio software and reapply the patches to the new installation. You could then try reinstalling the plugins.
  • If you installed your Oracle Solaris Studio software using the tar file, the plugins might be installed in the installation directory, or in the ~/.solstudio/ide-12.3-OS-architecture directory, or in both locations. Remove the existing installation and reinstall the tar file so that the plugins are removed. You should also delete the ide-12.3-OS-architecture directory. You can reinstall any plugins that you want back, but do not install the plugin that has conflicts.

See Also

See the following resources for more information:

About the Authors

Vladimir Voskresensky has been working on the Oracle Solaris Studio IDE team for seven years. He leads the Oracle Solaris Studio IDE and NetBeans C/C++ support projects and is a recognized NetBeans platform expert, consulting with external companies. His current responsibilities include refactoring, code assistance, performance, and scalability of features that are based on parsing technologies.

Egor Ushakov has been working for Oracle and Sun Microsystems for more than seven years. His current responsibilities include development of the Oracle Solaris Studio IDE and NetBeans. Prior to that, he worked on compiler optimizations. Before Oracle, Egor developed enterprise applications for Star Software.

Revision 1.0, 07/24/2012

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