At work (Topicus) we just released a M2E plugin for Eclipse that enables you to manage your workspace settings for your team from your Maven POM file.

The M2E Settings plugin allows you to specify your Eclipse settings once, and have them delivered across your team with ease.

If you are still using the maven-eclipse-plugin to generate your project files and use its configuration jar setup you can now switch to using M2E because our plugin will maintain these settings for you.

You could configure the maven-eclipse-plugin in your project’s POM like so:

<plugin>
    <groupId>org.apache.maven.plugins</groupId>
    <artifactId>maven-eclipse-plugin</artifactId>
    <version>2.9</version>
    <dependencies>
        <dependency>
            <groupId>com.example.settings</groupId>
            <artifactId>eclipse-settings</artifactId>
            <version>1.0</version>
        </dependency>
    </dependencies>
    <configuration>
        <additionalConfig>
            <file>
                <name>.settings/org.eclipse.jdt.core.prefs</name>
                <location>/org.eclipse.jdt.core.prefs</location>
            </file>
            <file>
                <name>.settings/org.eclipse.jdt.ui.prefs</name>
                <location>/org.eclipse.jdt.ui.prefs</location>
            </file>
			<file>[...]</file>
			<file>[...]</file>
			<file>[...]</file>
        </additionalConfig>
    </configuration>
</plugin>

So previously you had to manually apply the settings using the maven-eclipse-plugin. This would copy all the configured files to their locations, and configure Eclipse (a restart of the workspace is typically required):

$ mvn eclipse:eclipse
...
$

And with the right configuration this would create, amongst other things for each of your projects a .settings folder with your configuration files:

$ ls -l .settings/
total 160
-rw-r--r--  1 dashorst  staff     85 Nov 29  2013 edu.umd.cs.findbugs.plugin.eclipse.prefs
-rw-r--r--  1 dashorst  staff     88 Nov 29  2013 org.eclipse.core.resources.prefs
-rw-r--r--  1 dashorst  staff    206 Nov 29  2013 org.eclipse.jdt.apt.core.prefs
-rw-r--r--  1 dashorst  staff  29892 Nov 29  2013 org.eclipse.jdt.core.prefs
-rw-r--r--  1 dashorst  staff  11754 Nov 29  2013 org.eclipse.jdt.ui.prefs
-rw-r--r--  1 dashorst  staff     86 Apr  5  2013 org.eclipse.m2e.core.prefs
-rw-r--r--  1 dashorst  staff    575 Nov  7  2013 org.eclipse.wst.common.component
-rw-r--r--  1 dashorst  staff    167 Apr 19  2013 org.eclipse.wst.common.project.facet.core.xml
-rw-r--r--  1 dashorst  staff    403 Nov 29  2013 org.eclipse.wst.validation.prefs
-rw-r--r--  1 dashorst  staff     77 Aug 25  2013 org.hibernate.eclipse.console.prefs
-rw-r--r--  1 dashorst  staff    262 Nov 29  2013 org.maven.ide.eclipse.prefs
$

Unfortunately with the advent of Eclipse 4.3 and its M2E integration, the maven-eclipse-plugin can no longer be used. But we still want the settings to be applied to all our projects.

In comes an Eclipse plugin that hooks up M2E and the maven-eclipse-plugin to use the same configuration and instructs M2E to fulfill the role of the maven-eclipse-plugin.

The M2E Settings plugin piggybacks on the configuration you already had in place for the maven-eclipse-plugin. This makes it easier to migrate your team members without forcing everyone to start using M2E.

For more information about the M2E Settings plugin, take a look at the project on Github and try it out. It should be added to the Eclipse Marketplace somewhere tomorrow, making it easier to find and install.

This plugin was made possible by Olivier Nouguier, so many thanks for his initial work.

Go check out the M2E Settings Plugin and have fun!