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Eclipse Forms Article

Monday, January 16, 2006 - 10:58 by Wayne Beaton

Earlier today, I posted an article on Eclipse Forms by Dejan Glozic onto the Eclipse Corner Articles site. It’s pretty powerful stuff; using the Forms API, you can build user interface components that look and feel “browser-like”. As the article suggests, forms are probably best suited for views and editors (not dialogue boxes), but you can use them anywhere it makes sense for you. The PDE makes extensive use of it and is a good demonstration of the power provided.

While editing this article, I made use of the advice it gives in my EBay sample RCP application. I created an editor that uses the Forms API to display some information about the selected item.

I especially like the collapsible sections and the form text control for the description. Using form text was a little problematic: the documentation for form text explicitly states that it is not intended as a replacement for a browser, but it does support a lot of HTML markup. Unfortunately, EBay descriptions tend to contain a huge amount of arbitrary markup, so I had to write a little code to sanitize the HTML and parse out all the weirdness (tables, divisions, etc.) It’s not perfect yet, but is getting very close to what I want.

In any case, Dejan’s article was very helpful.