Dealing with OSGi Fragments in Tycho and Designer

Sep 11, 2015, 7:30 PM

Tags: java tycho osgi

This post is partly to spread information publicly and partly a useful note to my future self for the next time I run into this trouble.

In OGSi, the primary type of entity you're dealing with is a "Bundle" or "Plug-in" (the two terms are effectively the same for our needs). However, there's a sort of specialized type that you may run into called a "Fragment". They're similar to a plug-in in that they're a contained unit of Java code and resources, but they have the special property that they're attached to another plug-in and automatically come along for the ride when the main plug-in is used. This is useful in a couple situations, such as code organization, serving platform-specialized native libraries, after-the-fact additions, or providing library dependencies.

In the basic case, the only requirement is to specify in the fragment what the "parent" plug-in is (Eclipse provides a field for this in its editor) and then including the fragment in the installable feature alongside the plug-in. However, there are a few situations where a bit more work is required if you want to access the classes in the fragment: when used as part of a Tycho build and when used as an XSP Library in Designer (which may also apply to Eclipse dependency use generally).


When doing a full Tycho build, even if both the plug-in and its fragment(s) are part of the current build, another project won't automatically include the fragment when doing the compilation. This can lead to a situation where the projects will compile cleanly in Eclipse (which handles the fragment attachment) but fail in Tycho. The trick, though small, is non-obvious: you have to tell the project that is using the fragment code about the fragment in its

So say you have three projects: the main plug-in (some.main.plugin), a fragment attached to it (some.main.plugin.fragment), and the project consuming them (some.dependent.plugin). The normal first step is to include the main plug-in in the dependent plug-in's MANIFEST.MF as usual:

Require-Bundle: some.main.plugin

In Eclipse, this will suffice: both the main plug-in and its fragment will show up in the "Plug-in Dependencies" library. For Tycho, though, you have to tip it off using a line like this in

extra.. = platform:/fragment/some.main.plugin.fragment

Think of this as saying "hey, dummy, don't forget about the fragment". Once you have that line, the Tycho-enabled Maven build should be able to resolve the fragment's classes and all will be well.


When using the plug-in and its fragment in an XSP Library in Designer, there's a similar-seeming problem: though Designer will include any direct dependencies of your Library plug-in in the class path, it won't pick up on any fragments by default (though it seems that Domino does). The trick here is that the primary plug-in has to tell Designer that it accepts fragments, which is done by setting Eclipse-ExtensibleAPI in the MANIFEST.MF file for some.main.plugin, like so:

Eclipse-ExtensibleAPI: true

Once that's in place, the fragment should start showing up in your NSF's classpath when the library is enabled.

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