Tuesday, June 30, 2009

p2 UI policy and Declarative Services

This is another post in what is becoming a short (so far only two) series about moving a product from 3.4 to 3.5.

After I got my build working, the next step was making sure that I could update from one product version to the next. I was especially excited about the resolution of https://bugs.eclipse.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=246060 which allows for .qualifier to be replaced in a product version. No longer would I have to manually increment the product version number for purposes of updating to and testing a nightly build.

So my plan was:

  1. Run PDE product build to generate version 1.0.0.abc
  2. Unzip 1.0.0.abc to some location.
  3. Run PDE product build again to generate version 1.0.0.def
  4. Launch 1.0.0.abc, point it at the repository for 1.0.0.def, and update.
  5. ...
  6. Profit.

Unfortunately, when I launched 1.0.0.abc, the Install New Software dialog didn't have a way for me to add a new repository. Ditto for the preference page.

Turns out there is a more robust set of p2 UI building blocks in 3.5, which is handy for RCP developers. That is described in great detail here: http://wiki.eclipse.org/Equinox/p2/Adding_Self-Update_to_an_RCP_Application

I should mention that the RCP-p2 example in 3.5 is leaps and bounds ahead of the one from 3.4 (there wasn't one) - so props to the p2 UI team on that.

At any rate, the wiki page tipped me off that there is a UI policy which controls what components are showing and enabled. This policy is implemented as an OSGi declarative service. What really threw me for a loop is that I wasn't trying to do anything special with this policy. I just wanted the stock SDK one since our product is based on the SDK.

Debugging the Policy Behavior

I stepped through the preference page code and discovered that the SDKPolicy wasn't getting discovered as a service (it was just getting an empty Policy every time). So this sent me down the route of launching with -console to see the OSGi console and look for the policy service. After fighting with the filter syntax for the services <filter> console command, I googled a bit more and found these useful runtime options for spitting out verbose DS logging information. I turned those on but I didn't get anything logged. I was pretty stumped at this point.

Then a light bulb came on: maybe declarative services wasn't running at all? A quick ss ds at the console showed that it was RESOLVED but not active! I did a start to spin it up and all of a sudden a deluge of DS logging information printed out. And then SDKPolicy started working, and voila my p2 UI was working.

It turns out the root cause is that we had a custom config.ini in 3.4 to specify a custom osgi.instance.area location. This was screwing up the start level for the ds bundle. I switched the product to generate a config.ini for me, did a new build, and everything worked. I plan to migrate the osgi.instance.area configuration step to a p2.inf file, which is what the platform releng guys do.

Useful Links

[1] Equinox Runtime Options
[2] Explore Eclipse's OSGi Console
[3] Around the world in Java: Getting Started with OSGi Declarative Services
[4] p2 UI policy bug #1
[5] p2 UI policy bug #2


  1. Hi,
    nice post! .. but still a minor question.

    In which artifacts does the product version arise after the build?


  2. Luzi, there is an installable unit in the generated repository whose ID corresponds to the product identifier. Also, the IUs for the launcher get the same version number as the product (I think). In 3.4.x this version number was static, but in 3.5 it can have the qualifier.


  3. Thanks Ben,
    so this version was introduced in 3.4 and does not appear in any other dialog?


  4. Sorry Luzi, I don't understand your question.

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