Composer on Helios

I know that many of my readership do like to run Composer on Eclipse, opposed to running Composer the RCP product which is still based on Eclipse 3.4.  Composer the RCP product is a closed-box.  Composer on eclipse on the other hand is an open platform that you can extend through the software updates in order to leverage any of the multiple complimentary tool-sets that are out there.

So, to that end, a quick set of instructions on how to get Composer running on the latest version of Eclipse, 3.6, codenamed Helios.

Download and install the JEE version of eclipse from here.  The JEE version already contains most of the dependencies that Composer requires to run including EMF, GEF, etc.  Start it up and choose a workspace.  Once it has started the only additional package you need is the emf validation framework.  Goto Help->Install New Software…  Choose the “All Available Sites” or “Helios” in the “Work with” drop down and in the filter box type “emf validation framework” and you should see something like this:-

Select the SDK.  Click Next to review the installation.  Click Next again and accept the licence agreement.  Then click Finish to install.  Once it has been downloaded and installed into your Eclipse run-time you will be asked to restart – go ahead and do this.  Once it has restarted the install is complete.  Now close Eclipse again as you now need to add the Composer plugins.

Copy all folders and jars beginning “com.emc.ide%” from the features and plugins folders of your existing Composer 6.5 install into the dropins folder under a /composer/eclipse path.  It should look like this:-

Now restart Eclipse one more time and navigate to Help->About Eclipse to confirm the Documentum logo is there as shown in the following image:-

And your done.  As always the obligatory support statement. Composer isn’t officially supported in this configuration- although technically there is no difference.  Any issues you did find would need to be reproduced on Composer RCP before Tech Support would accept them.

Lastly, a small request from me.  Before I left on my LOA and now that I am back I am always actively encouraging EMC to host and support Composer as a set of plugins from an update site, like the rest if the Eclipse community, as well as Composer as a product.  But I am just one of a few voices saying this within EMC who obviously weigh our opinion up against the cost of hosting the update site.  So if you would like to consume Composer from an update site, if you would like Composer to be an open -platform it is important that you let EMC know this by telling them directly or by commenting here.

Ok that’s it.  In future posts I show you how you can leverage some of the complimentary tool-sets I mentioned earlier and that you now have available to you.  And obviously feel free to experiment and let us know what works for you.

Happy Composing

41 thoughts on “Composer on Helios

  1. Hi.

    Thank you for posting these instructions, they were very helpful.

    We would love to get an update site for composer. I have not quite understood why people want to turn composer in to a java development environment instead of adding composer functionality to Eclipse. Even having the update site just as a local folder like another project at EMC has done, is much better than copying files manually.

  2. Developer adoption is a key advantage/strength in an increasingly competitive market. It was a huge leap for EMC to release a Developer edition of Documentum. I had lost count of the number of developers who had asked me how to learn Documentum. Now I can tell them exactly where to start.

    Open platforms allow developers to do creative things with them and to weave them into the fabric of their infrastructure involving other components. EMC doesn’t even need to pay these folks for inventing creative ways of using EMC products.

    I also wonder why I need multiple copies of Eclipse on my workstation because I use Eclipse anyway for DFC, WDK, and other Java development. While I understand the support argument (certification on specific versions), there is probably a model that could work for EMC Eclipse plugins just like it works for Eclipse and other plugins.

    • Agreed. Developer adoption is key. I was trying to explain that in a previous post. You stated it much more eloquently than I did.

      I personally don’t really get the QA/support argument. One of the beauties of the OSGi/eclipse environment is that the Composer plug-ins are version matched to their dependencies. They can and will only run in an environment that complies – OSGi guarantees this. Therefore, you can QA the plug-ins in one such matching environment and support them in any other such matching environment. Any plugins that exist around the edges of this environment are irrelevant. Hence, the argument that we must strictly control the environment by producing a “product” so it can be QAed and supported I think is untenable and this is yet another another tick in favor of update sites IMO.

      Anyway thank you doquent.

      I will be passing your request along with the others to management as well as making the above QA/support argument.

  3. Hi Paul welcome back. As a regular follower its good to see a good Java / Documentum techie back online.

    Yes you have my vote for Composer distributions via an update site. Why its not there in the first place is beyond me.

  4. Hello Paul,

    Please add my vote in favor of composer as a plugin. It is too cumbersome to maintain multiple developer environments, it just adds to more effort to maintain and increases our development costs.

  5. Hello Paul,

    You might haven’t thought about it, but your guide is a treasure for those developing on Linux or other non MS Windows OSes. Why EMC force us to use a specific platform is beyond me. Well, I use my Windows VirtualBox to run Process Builder, but having also to use Composer for my daily development would be a tragedy.

    Thank you very much and of course you have my full support on your plugin proposal. Keep up the good work.

  6. Composer must be open-sorce platform. may be in 2 edition – open source and unsupported but avialable from eclipse plugins, closed and supported (like now).

    EMC, share Composer and community will power it for free!

  7. Hi Paul,

    It seems that the latest Composer 6.6 patch 06 doesn’t like the composer/eclipse/{plugins,features} structure under dropins directory. I got only the option for “New” menu to create installation parameter in “Documentum Artifacts” submenu. I’ve moved com.emc.ide.* files directly under dropins directory, like we used in the past, and worked fine both in Windows and Linux eclipse 3.6. You might want to update your guide.

    • Hi Panos,

      We haven’t changed anything in that area and we havent (sadly) updated its eclipse platforms either so I suspect this maybe an environmental thing.

      You might want to run Composer with the -console option to see if p2 is throwing any errors when it tries to provision those plug-ins.


  8. This is one of the most useful articles on Eclipse and Composer and would lead us to have the complete powerful Eclipse Platform rather than a limited composer. This is a very useful article as well as we use SVN for our source control and we can all do that from a single tool and UI

  9. Hi Paul,
    welcome back, many thanks for all your posting so far and looking forward to further tips.

    An EMC hosted Composer update site would be brilliant. So please add my vote to the proposal.


  10. Hi Paul,

    I completely agree with you to have separate site for composer update. Please add my vote.


  11. Just for information I’m testing with Composer 6.7 and Helios 3.6.2, and until now everything seems working fine. Thanks for this great tutorial.

  12. Great tutorial Paul. +1 for making Composer available from an update site (also for any integrated IDE in future). I’ll give these instructions a go tonight. Fingers crossed it’ll work on a Mac.

  13. This appears to work on Mac. I just used this procedure to install the Composer plugins to STS 2.7.0 M1. I created a DCTM project & a simple custom type. I’ll try deployment later.

    I’d really like to test this in a continuous build setup which is something that I hope to try this week using Maven/Gradle, Hudson, etc. Have you seen an article that covers this? If not I may post my findings on the developer site.

    • Excellent. Thanks for the update.

      We have some experience of that in house and I would be happy to try and answer any questions. But I haven’t seen anything else “out there”. If you can add your findings to EDN that would be great. Please send me the link (in case I dont pick it up) and I will blog it. This is a very important use case.

  14. Hello Paul,

    We are looking forward for the next “Composer on Indigo” article of yours. I’ve tried it with 6.6 Composer plugins and it seems to have issues on DCTM Module Editor. It produces a “Could not open the editor: Need an underlying widget to be able to set the input.(Has the widget been disposed?)” both on Linux and Windows.


  15. I have tested the 7.1 Composer plugins based on eclipse 3.8 on the latest 4.4 (Luna) eclipse version and they seem to work fine so far.


    • Thanks for the post. I had exactly the same fight internally about XCP Designer too. It’s a shame that we couldn’t have been more open on both products and in XCP Designer’s case started to investigate fitting into the Spring developer’s world (rather than trying to replace it). For example wouldn’t it be nice if we had a Spring Data layer for Documentum and wouldn’t it be nice if we could make Spring Data Entity bean’s got through processes, etc, etc

  16. Its very nice post.I have followed all the steps ,but still i go for New tab i cannot see Documentum project in list please help

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