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How to build projects outside of Eclipse GUI

With the introduction of WebLogic Portal 10.3.2, the product moved to the new Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse from the BEA Workshop for WebLogic product for Eclipse. As part of this transition, the ant export facilities provided with Workshop for WebLogic to allow a project to be built outside of the Eclipse GUI as part of an automated procedure are no longer provided as there are several more standard options to do this type of build automation. This post covers these new options, and specifically calls out one way you can do a very similar process on a Solaris based environment

The Issue

Eclipse projects contain a lot of information about dependencies. Such information is necessary to compile the projects. However, customers need to compile the projects outside of development environments – staging, production, and continuous build environments. The set of all possible project types and dependencies is very large, and some customers track these dependencies outside of Eclipse as part of their process, and integrate these into their custom build processes. This is in fact the recommended best practice, and is often done by leveraging solutions such as Maven. However, many customers rely on Eclipse and their developers to store these dependencies, especially those that were formerly leveraging the export ant facility of Workshop for WebLogic. Workshop for WebLogic provided a mechanism to export ant scripts, which can be used without an IDE, to build Eclipse Projects. However, this solution was fragile as it relied on constantly changing Eclipse internals. WLP 10.3.2 made a strategic shift to OEPE from Workshop for WebLogic, and OEPE does not provide this export ant facility. Rather, it relies on other, more standard approaches.