Little Known Things about the Eclipse Infocenter: Debugging Information (5/5)

This is the last of the five well-hidden features of the Infocenter. The Eclipse Infocenter is the Eclipse help system launched as a web application which can of course also be remotely debugged like any other Java application. But in situations when you cannot easily access the server on which the Infocenter is running you can still get hold of a list of active plug-ins and some help-specific configuration information. Furthermore, you can display any file of an active plug-in. This debugging information, which is similar to the Configuration Details in the About Dialog of your Eclipse IDE, can be accessed not by following a link or by clicking a button but by opening specific URLs.

Infocenter About page

For a table of active plug-ins just open the page about.html. You can sort the rows by clicking on a column header. This list can be used to get the source code of the plug-ins, which is required for a remote debugging session. Or you can check if there are any known security vulnerabilities (e. g. cross-site scripting vulnerability) that need to be fixed by updating the Infocenter. You should use Eclipse 3.8 or newer just to be on the safe side. Two weeks ago I found three pretty old Infocenters with security issues which are certainly not the only ones. I informed the operators but nothing has happened so far. For this reason I even waited until today with publishing this post.

Infocenter About Preferences page

To get help-specific preferences you have to open about.html?show=preferences. But this page shows only the basic help configuration. To get a file such as plugin.xml, toc.xml or META-INF/MANIFEST.MF of a specific plug-in you have to open rtopic/plug.in.id/path/to/file, for example:

This was the final episode of the series on five little known things about the Eclipse Infocenter. I hope that you liked it. How many of the well-hidden features did you already know?

  1. Basic and Bot Mode
  2. Deep Linking
  3. Search Links
  4. Language Switching
  5. Debugging Information

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