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The following are instructions on how to setup Eclipse / WOLips so you can work with mulitple versions of WebObjects. This tutorial will demonstrate setting up your environment simply for WebObjects 5.3.3 and 5.4.3 but there's no reason you can't have different setups based on customer or project instead.

Create New Directory Structure

The first thing we need to do is to create a new directory structure to allow for multiple versions of WebObjects to be installed in. This new directory structure basically creates a new root level that WOLips will look in for all frameworks used by a given project or workspace. This directory structure can be anything you wish. For demonstration purposes, I'm going to create it under the /Developer directory.

Create: /Developer/WebObjects/Versions/

Download WOInstaller.jar

We now need to download the WOInstaller.jar file from and save it into the Versions/ directory we just created.

Use WOInstaller.jar to download WebObjects

Open and run one of the following commands:

java -jar /Developer/WebObjects/Versions/WOInstaller.jar 5.3.3 /Developer/WebObjects/Versions/WebObjects533
java -jar /Developer/WebObjects/Versions/WOInstaller.jar 5.4.3 /Developer/WebObjects/Versions/WebObjects543

(depending upon which version of WebObjects you would like to download.)

Installed Versions

When the script has finished downloading, your directory should look something like this. At this point you could rename the directory to something like MyCustomer or MyProject. For this demonstration we'll just leave it named as is.

Open Eclipse / WOLips

You need to launch Eclipse and WOLips at least once so that it will create the default file in ~/Library/Application Support/WOLips/. If you've already been using WOlips, you can skip this step.


Feb 12, 2010: At least with WOLips 3.4.5830, launching Eclipse/WOLips is not sufficient to get it to create the default You need to create a project; a new WebObjects Application project will do nicely.

Make a copy of the default file

Select the file and make a copy of it. Then rename the copy to be In reality, you can rename it however you'd like (for example: or, but I find that putting the version number in the middle (e.g. will keep all the different versions together, and will not mess with the extension mapping.

Modify your new file to point to your newly downloaded version of WebObjects

As an example, if you downloaded WebObjects 5.3.3 into /Developer/WebObjects/Versions/WebObjects533, then modify your new file as follows (substituting your username for bubba, of course):



Configure Eclipse to use your newly installed version of WebObjects

Eclipse needs to be able to reference your file, so that it can locate all the resources needed in order to build and to run your projects.

Here you have two options:

  • you can set a workspace-wide preference to use a particular file
  • you can configure an individual project to use a particular file

Neither approach is without its problems. Read on...

Option 1 - Configure the Eclipse workspace to reference your new file

With this option, we're telling the Eclipse/WOLips internal incremental builder to reference a specific file for the entire workspace (rather than using the default, which is $HOME/Library/Application Support/WOLips/ And by doing this, we're implicitly telling Eclipse which installation of WebObjects we want it to use.

To change this setting, go to the "Eclipse" menu, select "Preferences", open the "WOLips" preference group, then select "Build". Enter the name of your new file. Note that this can be either an absolute or relative filename. Relative filenames are relative to your $HOME/Library/Application Support/WOLips/ directory.

Although in some cases you can get WOLips to use your new via a Clean/Rebuild, or by closing/reopening your project, it's probably wise to just restart Eclipse, to make sure the change is "refreshed" for all your open projects. And then a Clean/Rebuild may also be in order.

Eclipse/WOLips will also use this setting to find the referenced resources at runtime, i.e. when your run your project from within Eclipse.


This setting currently affects only the Eclipse internal builder - it will not influence external builds with Ant. That is, when you build your project (e.g. for deployment) using any of the following:

  • Ctrl-click build.xml -> Run As -> Ant Build
  • WOLips Ant Tools -> Install
  • build with Ant from the command line

...this setting will not affect where Ant looks for the various resources specified by the settings in your alternate

In order to configure Ant so that it can find your resources, you'll need to use Option 2, below.

Option 2 - Configure your project to reference your new file

Currently, the Eclipse Ant builder is not controlled by the "WOLips -> Build" setting in Eclipse's Preferences. In order to build with Ant, you first need to tell Ant where to find your WebObjects installation and other resources. Your project's default Ant buildfile, build.xml (which is created by WOLips when you create a new WebObjects application project), reads and uses the properties found in your $HOME/Library/Application Support/WOLips/ file. But you can specify a different file by adding a line like the following to your project's file: Support/WOLips/

Note that for now (as of WOLips version 3.4.5830), this really must be an absolute, fully-qualified filepath; if you were to specify a relative filename, Eclipse/WOLips would treat it as being relative to $HOME/Library/Application Support/WOLips, but Ant (using the default build.xml) would treat it as being relative to your project's base folder.

Also, you might think you could use an Ant variable specification such as ${user.home} on the right hand side – but you can't. The problem is that while Ant would interpret this correctly, Eclipse/WOLips will not. Also note that you can't in any case use a tilde character as an abbreviation for your home directory.

If you specify a setting this way, it will override the workspace-wide WOLips preference setting.

Eclipse will also use this setting to find resources at runtime, i.e. when you run your project from within Eclipse.

OPTIONAL - Building your project from the Command Line Using Ant

If you want to build your project with Ant from the command line, you need to tell Ant two things:

(1) The location of the WOLips woproject.jar file:

You can do this either via the -lib parameter to the ant command, e.g.

ant -lib /path/to/woproject.jar

or by putting a copy of woproject.jar someplace where Ant will find it. A convenient location for it is your $HOME/.ant/lib folder:

mkdir -p ~/.ant/lib
cp -p /Applications/eclipse-3.4.2/plugins/org.objectstyle.wolips.woproject.ant_3.4.5830/lib/woproject.jar ~/.ant/lib
(2) The location of your file:

If you already specified this in your (as per Option 2, above), then you're done. But perhaps you have no interest in building with Ant from within Eclipse, but only want to be able to do Ant builds from the command line. If that's the case, then you can use Ant's -D<property>=<value> command line option to set the value of the Ant property to be the path to your file. Ant will read and process the file specified by the property during the course of processing your build.xml. Again, this path specification can be absolute or relative; but if it's relative, Ant will interpret it as being relative to your project's base folder.


$ ant\ Support/WOLips/ clean build

As above, you cannot use a tilde character as an abbreviation for your home directory (but you in fact could use an environment variable such as $HOME - the shell would expand it before passing it to ant).

1 Comment

  1. Do not use the ~ prefix for the "" property in your "" file as shown in the picture above: Java Properties don't support this. You should write the full path.