The Eclipse plugins generate files that are used by the Eclipse IDE, thus making it possible to import the project into Eclipse (File - Import…​ - Existing Projects into Workspace).

The eclipse-wtp is automatically applied whenever the eclipse plugin is applied to a War or Ear project. For utility projects (i.e. Java projects used by other web projects), you need to apply the eclipse-wtp plugin explicitly.

What exactly the eclipse plugin generates depends on which other plugins are used:

Table 1. Eclipse plugin behavior
Plugin Description


Generates minimal .project file.


Adds Java configuration to .project. Generates .classpath and JDT settings file.


Adds Groovy configuration to .project file.


Adds Scala support to .project and .classpath files.


Adds web application support to .project file.


Adds ear application support to .project file.

The eclipse-wtp plugin generates all WTP settings files and enhances the .project file. If a Java or War is applied, .classpath will be extended to get a proper packaging structure for this utility library or web application project.

Both Eclipse plugins are open to customization and provide a standardized set of hooks for adding and removing content from the generated files.


To use either the Eclipse or the Eclipse WTP plugin, include one of the lines in your build script:

Example: Using the Eclipse plugin

apply plugin: 'eclipse'

Example: Using the Eclipse WTP plugin

apply plugin: 'eclipse-wtp'

Note: Internally, the eclipse-wtp plugin also applies the eclipse plugin so you don’t need to apply both.

Both Eclipse plugins add a number of tasks to your projects. The main tasks that you will use are the eclipse and cleanEclipse tasks.


The Eclipse plugins add the tasks shown below to a project.

Eclipse Plugin tasks


Depends on: all Eclipse configuration file generation tasks

Generates all Eclipse configuration files


Depends on: all Eclipse configuration file clean tasks

Removes all Eclipse configuration files


Removes the .project file.


Removes the .classpath file.


Removes the .settings/org.eclipse.jdt.core.prefs file.


Generates the .project file.


Generates the .classpath file.


Generates the .settings/org.eclipse.jdt.core.prefs file.

Eclipse WTP Plugin — additional tasks


Removes the .settings/org.eclipse.wst.common.component file.


Removes the .settings/org.eclipse.wst.common.project.facet.core.xml file.


Generates the .settings/org.eclipse.wst.common.component file.


Generates the .settings/org.eclipse.wst.common.project.facet.core.xml file.


Table 2. Configuration of the Eclipse plugins
Model Reference name Description



Top level element that enables configuration of the Eclipse plugin in a DSL-friendly fashion.



Allows configuring project information



Allows configuring classpath information.



Allows configuring jdt information (source/target Java compatibility).



Allows configuring wtp component information only if eclipse-wtp plugin was applied.



Allows configuring wtp facet information only if eclipse-wtp plugin was applied.

Customizing the generated files

The Eclipse plugins allow you to customize the generated metadata files. The plugins provide a DSL for configuring model objects that model the Eclipse view of the project. These model objects are then merged with the existing Eclipse XML metadata to ultimately generate new metadata. The model objects provide lower level hooks for working with domain objects representing the file content before and after merging with the model configuration. They also provide a very low level hook for working directly with the raw XML for adjustment before it is persisted, for fine tuning and configuration that the Eclipse and Eclipse WTP plugins do not model.


Sections of existing Eclipse files that are also the target of generated content will be amended or overwritten, depending on the particular section. The remaining sections will be left as-is.

Disabling merging with a complete rewrite

To completely rewrite existing Eclipse files, execute a clean task together with its corresponding generation task, like “gradle cleanEclipse eclipse” (in that order). If you want to make this the default behavior, add “tasks.eclipse.dependsOn(cleanEclipse)” to your build script. This makes it unnecessary to execute the clean task explicitly.

This strategy can also be used for individual files that the plugins would generate. For instance, this can be done for the “.classpath” file with “gradle cleanEclipseClasspath eclipseClasspath”.

Hooking into the generation lifecycle

The Eclipse plugins provide objects modeling the sections of the Eclipse files that are generated by Gradle. The generation lifecycle is as follows:

  1. The file is read; or a default version provided by Gradle is used if it does not exist

  2. The beforeMerged hook is executed with a domain object representing the existing file

  3. The existing content is merged with the configuration inferred from the Gradle build or defined explicitly in the eclipse DSL

  4. The whenMerged hook is executed with a domain object representing contents of the file to be persisted

  5. The withXml hook is executed with a raw representation of the XML that will be persisted

  6. The final XML is persisted

Advanced configuration hooks

The following list covers the domain object used for each of the Eclipse model types:

  • beforeMerged { Jdt arg -> …​ }

  • whenMerged { Jdt arg -> …​ }

  • withProperties { arg -> } argument type ⇒ java.util.Properties

Partial overwrite of existing content

A complete overwrite causes all existing content to be discarded, thereby losing any changes made directly in the IDE. Alternatively, the beforeMerged hook makes it possible to overwrite just certain parts of the existing content. The following example removes all existing dependencies from the Classpath domain object:

Example: Partial Overwrite for Classpath

eclipse.classpath.file {
    beforeMerged { classpath ->
        classpath.entries.removeAll { entry -> entry.kind == 'lib' || entry.kind == 'var' }

The resulting .classpath file will only contain Gradle-generated dependency entries, but not any other dependency entries that may have been present in the original file. (In the case of dependency entries, this is also the default behavior.) Other sections of the .classpath file will be either left as-is or merged. The same could be done for the natures in the .project file:

Example: Partial Overwrite for Project

eclipse.project.file.beforeMerged { project ->

Modifying the fully populated domain objects

The whenMerged hook allows to manipulate the fully populated domain objects. Often this is the preferred way to customize Eclipse files. Here is how you would export all the dependencies of an Eclipse project:

Example: Export Classpath Entries

eclipse.classpath.file {
    whenMerged { classpath ->
        classpath.entries.findAll { entry -> entry.kind == 'lib' }*.exported = false

Modifying the XML representation

The withXml hook allows to manipulate the in-memory XML representation just before the file gets written to disk. Although Groovy’s XML support makes up for a lot, this approach is less convenient than manipulating the domain objects. In return, you get total control over the generated file, including sections not modeled by the domain objects.

Example: Customizing the XML

apply plugin: 'eclipse-wtp'

eclipse.wtp.facet.file.withXml { provider ->
    provider.asNode().fixed.find { it.@facet == '' }.@facet = ''