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[equinox-dev] P2 and installHandlers

Hi Folks,
What is the current plan (if any) w.r.t. feature installHandlers and P2?

We are currently using installHandlers to install and update our product. 
The installHandler is responsible for extracting non-Eclipse files (e.g. 
compilers, headers and libraries) to the product installation directory. 
By using the installHandler, we have a single package that can be used in 
the installer, but also can be posted to an update site to deliver updated 
tools along with our Eclipse plug-in updates.

We are currently investigating migrating the entire setup to use P2 and 
touchpoints, but have encountered a number of challenges, one of which is 
time. As a short term solution, we considered simply generating the P2 
metadata for our update site, then using the P2 console to install our 
features (instead of the old update manager command-line interface), and 
deploying the P2 metadata to our update site so that P2 could also handle 
the updates. In the short term, we would simply keep the existing 
structure for our Eclipse plug-ins and features, including the existing 

I can generate the P2 metadata for our update site successfully. The 
metadata even includes the references to the installHandlers, so obviously 
some portion of P2 is aware of their existence.

I run into problems when I try to install the features:

If I use the GUI, it displays the following error:
A feature that you have selected uses install procedures that are not 
compatible with the current installation support. This feature can only be 
installed by the older Update Manager. Do you want to launch the older 
Update Manager?
I can launch the older Update Manager, and it runs and installs the 
feature correctly, including executing the installHandler. Once installed, 
P2 is aware that the feature is present, but is unable to manage it 
(uninstall). I would need to launch the "Manage Configuration..." dialog, 
but that menu item is gone.

If I use the P2 director app to install the feature, it runs without error 
and correctly installs the features and plug-ins, but does not run the 
installHandler at all, and does not indicate that this has not run.

I recall reading information on the wiki indicating that P2 would be 
backward compatible with update sites, and would support installHandlers 
with "some restrictions".

Question: Are there any plans to support installHandlers directly in P2 
for the Eclipse 3.4 release, or ever?

If not, then it looks like we will need to migrate our entire installation 
plan to P2, and I have many more questions about that. Given time 
constraints, we will likely disable P2 on our next product release, even 
though we have moved to Eclipse 3.4.


David Kennedy
Senior Member of Technical Staff, Software Tools Development
Medical Division
ON Semiconductor
+1 519 884 9696 ext 2289 | office
+1 519 884 0228 | fax