Eclipse Help – Introduction

While using any software help content is sometimes more than crucial. In old versions of Eclipse there was some limitation in eclipse help. While you’re browsing the Eclipse help system, and some of the help pages are very long. You want to search the text in those pages, but you notice that the Eclipse help browser doesn’t let you search the current page. Though this problem has been rectified in new versions.

The Eclipse Platform’s help system allows you to contribute your plug-in’s online help using the “ org.eclipse.help.toc ” extension point.

There are two options to add help to a plug-in.

  1. As a part of the existing plug-in.
  2. As a seperate Help module.

Both has its own advantages and disadvantages. Creating a seperate module will help us to isolate the documentation from the source. But in can sometimes force to keep multiple copies of the same resource files in the two plug-ins and much more than that make it synchronize them always. The “ org.eclipse.help.toc ” contribution specifies one or more associated XML files that contain the structure of your help and its integration with help contributed by other plug-ins.

The Platform utilizes its own help server to provide the actual web pages. This help server is platform independent, browser independent but plug-in aware. The Platform’s help server allows the documentation to also be packaged in zip files thus avoiding problems that may result when a large number of files are present. The recommended way is to actually zip all the documentation.

To display its help documentation, Eclipse uses a custom version of the Tomcat web server. While the help system is open, you can find the direct URL of the help topic you’re looking at. After launching your own browser, you can navigate to that URL.

To get the URL of a help topic, right-click the topic, and select Copy Shortcut, which Copy a shortcut to the help topic. For example, my URL for help on bookmarks is URL . You can enter the URL in a browser to view the help page in your browser. You’re free to search individual Eclipse help pages with your browser’s Edit menu.

A recent addition to Eclipse enables you to bookmark help topics in the Eclipse help system. To create a bookmark, click the Bookmark Document button on the toolbar, and the bookmark will appear in the Bookmarks tab. Just double-click a bookmark to go back to the help topic indicated.

Also you can even customize the Eclipse help system to use your default browser for help display. Just select the browser option you want in the “ Window ” – > “ Preferences ” – > “ Help ”.