Eclipse Platform help system

The Eclipse Platform is an open-source integrated development environment (IDE) for programmers. Its open architecture permits new modules to be added to the platform as plugins by anyone. To provide online help for any new modules, Eclipse Platform includes a help system that is based on HTML. When you install your help files, also as a plugin, then your help content will appear in the Eclipse Platform help table of contents.

Starting with version 1.62.0, the DocBook XSL distribution included a stylesheet for generating Eclipse Platform help files. The stylesheet, authored by Jirka Kosek, is located at eclipse/eclipse.xsl in the DocBook XSL distribution.

The eclipse.xsl stylesheet is a customization of the chunking stylesheet for HTML output. You can apply it to your DocBook XML help document with your favorite XSLT processor, just as you would with the chunking stylesheet. In addition to generating a set of chunked HTML files, the eclipse.xsl stylesheet generates these two extra files:


The manifest file that tells Eclipse Platform how to integrate your help files into the Eclipse help system.


The table of contents of your document prepared as an XML file for the Eclipse Platform.

You will need to set three stylesheet parameters, either on the XSLT processor command line or in a stylesheet customization layer. These parameters pass information to the plugin.xml manifest file to properly configure your content for the Eclipse Platform.

The title of the help content. This will be displayed in the Eclipse Platform help list.

A unique identifier for this plugin, such as This is also the directory name of your help plugin in the Eclipse plugin directory.


Your name, company name, or organization name.

  1. Process your DocBook XML file with the eclipse.xsl stylesheet with the three stylesheet parameters set.

  2. Put the resulting html files, toc.xml file, and plugin.xml file into a directory named for your

  3. Install that directory in the Eclipse Platform's plugins directory on the systems that need to use the help content.

The next time the user starts the Eclipse Platform, the new help content should be available in the Help Contents.

For additional information on the Eclipse Platform help system, see the article DocBook for Eclipse: Reusing DocBook's Stylesheets by Jirka Kosek, and the Online Help Sample in the Eclipse Platform help contents after you install Eclipse.