Development Environment Setup Guide

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Install Prerequisites

Register to access source code

Tip.png Simantics is an open source software platform, licensed under Eclipse Public License EPL (more information in section Licensing). The source code for both semantic database engine Simantics Core and the client Simantics Workbench is available to registered users. To gain access to the complete Simantics SDK source code, go to the Simantics Members Wiki and request an account.


  • 64-bit JDK 8.0 (= Java Standard Edition Development Kit) is required. The latest update should always work. Get it here.

Eclipse IDE

  • Start Eclipse with a new empty workspace. The program will query you for the workspace location.
Java VM selection preference page
  • If you have multiple JRE/JDK versions installed, check that your Eclipse is using the the right one from Window/Preferences: Java/Installed JREs as shown below. For example in Windows the active JRE and JDK locations should be something like:
    • C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.8.0_<update number>
    • C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_<update number>


If you are on a network where the only way to access the internet via HTTP is through an HTTP proxy you need to make sure that Eclipse also uses this proxy. Corporate networks tend to be like this. If you do not do this, you cannot install anything using Eclipse's own plug-in installer.

Open the preferences dialog from main menu Window/Preferences. From the tree on the left go to General/Network Connections and modify the settings so that HTTP connections are checked to have a proxy.

Simantics Tooling

Select menu Help/Install New Software and write into the Work with text field. Install the latest Ontology Development/Graph Feature. This provides the possibility to create Simantics Ontology Projects, i.e. allows IDE integrated development of the ontologies (data models) used in the Simantics application you are developing.

See org.simantics.graph for the component's documentation.

Eclipse plug-in for Subversion

Tip.png With Simantics 1.4 and future releases this step is optional.

Simantics uses Subversion (SVN) as a version control system (VCS) for storing all of our source code. To access this data from neatly from Eclipse, you need to install some plug-ins into it. To install the plug-in, follow these instructions:

  • Install Subversion plug-in: Eclipse Subversive. Update Site is a part of Helios Update Site. From the main menu, open Help > Install New Software...
    1. SVN connector installation dialog
      From the Work with selector, select Helios -
      • From the Collaboration folder, select the following items:
        • Subversive SVN Team Provider
        • Subversive SVN JDT Ignore Extensions
      • Select Finish and watch the installation proceed
      • Click Restart Now after the installation completes
    2. After restarting, open the SVN Repository Exploring perspective and Eclipse should open a dialog called Install Connectors. Select SVN Kit 1.3.x and press finish.
  • Be warned that there has been a bug in Subversive which causes it to use the HTTP proxy for HTTPS addresses too. In order to get your SVN connection to working, you may need to use direct connection proxy settings after installing the SVN plug-ins.

Setup IDE

  • Import Simantics Java formatting rules into your Eclipse: save this XML file (File:Simantics-Java-Formatting.xml)
    • In Eclipse: Window/Preferences and the Java/Code Style/Formatter folder, select Import... and find the XML file you just downloaded.
  • From the same preferences dialog also make sure that JDK 6.0 (or JRE 1.6) compliance is enabled:
    Java compiler preferences.png
  • Optionally enable Save Actions: Java/Editor/Save Actions:
    • enable Organize imports
    • enable Additional actions
    • enable Format source code (not always recommendable)
    • Configure: Code Organizing: Enable Remove trailing whitespace and Correct indentation

Download Simantics

Simantics 1.4+ Instructions

Follow the instructions on the Target Platform page to set the Simantics 1.4 target platform up for your workspace.

Pre-Simantics 1.4 Instructions

Install Simantics target platform

The target platform is a set of Simantics and Eclipse features and plug-ins that constitute the components you can build your Simantics/Eclipse-based software out of. These are needed as base to get working on your own contributions on top of the Simantics platform.

To get the platform one must perform a checkout from the SVN repository. You can use Eclipse's SVN Repository Exploring perspective for this task. You can also use other tools, such as TortoiseSVN or the SVN command line client.

How do I check out from SVN in Eclipse in general?
New repository location.png
  • Switch to the SVN Repository Exploring perspective.
  • In the SVN Repositories view, from the context menu, select New → Repository Location.
  • Enter the SVN repository location in the URL field and enter your repository credentials in the authentication fields.
  • Browse the added repository tree, select the directory/project you want to access and edit, and select Check out from the context menu.

  1. Checkout the target platform for your version into a directory of your choice. See Target Platform for available versions.
    • Updating your target platform is now a matter of updating your target platform working copy.
    • Upgrading to newer versions of the target platform requires switching to/checking out another branch of the target platform.
  2. Import the target platform into your eclipse IDE:
    • If you checked out the target platform using another tool besides Eclipse, first import the target platform into your workspace:
      • File/Import: General/Existing Project into Workspace: Select target platform location as root directory. Deselect Copy projects into workspace if selected. Press Finish.
    • Select menu item Window/Preferences from your Eclipse IDE.
    • Open the preference page Plug-in Development/Target Platform.
    • Activate your target platform definition by checking it and press OK.

Download Simantics Components

Add Simantics repositories
  • Switch to SVN Repository Exploring perspective in Eclipse.
  • Add the main Simantics repository location in the SVN Repository view:
Checkout Simantics sources
  • Checkout the proper project sets into your workspace. Eclipse will check it out as ProjectSets:
    • Simantics development version: project-set/trunk
  • Switch to Java perspective.
  • To speed up the download, disable automatic building from menu toggle Project/Build Automatically.
  • From the Package Explorer view, pick simantics.psf file from the ProjectSets folder and select Import Project Set from the popup menu.
  • Re-enable automatic building
  • IMPORTANT: If checked out code does not compile/work, consult the maintainers of the non-working module.
  • If the project set import fails or does not do anything, please update your SVN plug-ins to the latest versions available.

Start Development

To get started on development, continue to Tutorial: Ontology Development.

Basic IDE Usage

Running Products from the IDE

  • Create a Product Configuration (.product) for your own product.
    • You can use sysdyn.product as a starting point for your own product configuration. To get sysdyn.product, import the sysdyn.psf project-set.
    • Be sure to only include the components that you want to have in your product, nothing more.
  • Launch the product from the links under the Testing section
  • When launching the Simantics Workbench application from the IDE, i.e. in development mode, the application will make sure that your application workspace will contain a Simantics database that contains the transferable graphs contained by the ontology project bundles that are included in your product's plug-in configuration.
    • Be warned that the application can't handle all cases of modified database contents. This means that sometimes the easiest way to get your application running is clearing your application's workspace and starting with a fresh database.


Remember to always launch your application using the .product configuration editor as described above when you want to make sure that your IDE's application launcher configuration is up-to-date. The launcher configurations contain the set of plug-ins that are installed into the launched application which means which is not updated when the application is launched through the menu or (Ctrl+)F11.

The launcher configurations will most likely require updating when you

  1. take new plug-ins into use (add them to features included by the product)
  2. remove plug-ins from use
  3. plug-ins are moved from the workspace to the target platform or vice versa
  4. the target platform is updated

Testing your own contributions with Simantics

Scenario - Testing a set of new plug-ins


  1. Some of the added plug-ins may contain ontologies.
  2. You've created your own set of plug-ins based on the Simantics SDK.
  3. You've defined features that include your plug-ins.
  4. You've followed the instructions at #Building

Steps to follow:

  1. If you have not already created a product definition for yourself:
    1. Optionally create a new plug-in project with the name product in it
    2. Add a new Product Configuration to an existing or a new plug-in with basic settings
    3. Open the new .product file with Product Configuration Editor
    4. From the Overview tab, Product Definition section, select org.simantics.workbench.application as the application and create a new product extension with the New button beside the product selector. Also mark the product definition feature based.
  2. Configure the product to your liking, i.e. add the features you need to it
  3. Launch your product from the product configuration editor Overview tab

Product Deployment

Deploying a product in this context means taking a certain set of features and plug-ins and packaging into an installable and executable application.

Things to ensure before deploying your product
  1. Ensure correctness of your files
    • For each of your own bundles (plug-ins and features), check that their files contain all the necessary files within each bundle. For example adapters.xml is often forgotten from the build since there is currently no automation that would add it to the build.
  2. Ensure validity of .product definition:
    • Open your .product file in the Eclipse IDE (use Ctrl-Shift-R for searching)
    • On the Launching page:
      • Set Launcher Name to set the name of your product executable.
      • Under Program Arguments:, add -fixerrors. This ensures that your product will initialize all new workspaces with a database instead of assuming that a database must already pre-exist.
      • Under VM Arguments: add at least -ea to enable VM assertions.
Deploying Executable Product
  • Open .product file in the Eclipse IDE (use Ctrl-Shift-R for searching)
  • On the Overview page of the product editor, select Eclipse Product export wizard from under Exporting
  • Fill in any missing details in the dialog and select Finish.
    • To create a directly executable product, you need to deselect Generate metadata repository.
    • To create a product deployable with P2 director (and in the future SPM), you need to select Generate metadata repository. This will generate an Eclipse P2 repository.