Algorithm Developers

While the layout algorithms implemented in ELK already cover a wide range of layout styles, your particular application may have more specific requirements. In these cases, it may become necessary to implement your own layout algorithm, which is what this part of the documentation is all about.

Implementing your own layout algorithm basically consists of the following steps:

  1. Install the Eclipse Layout Kernel SDK into your Eclipse development environment.
  2. Create and configure a new Eclipse plug-in project.
  3. Create and register a melk file that describes your algorithm and its support of layout properties.
  4. Implement your algorithm, updating the melk file along the way.
  5. Debug your algorithm.

Over the course of this section, we will be developing a very simple layout algorithm to illustrate the concepts we’re about to encounter.

Before you start: This section assumes that you have basic knowledge of how the Eclipse Layout Kernel works. You should at least have worked through the Graph Data Structure and Using Algorithms Directly sections.

Once you are ready to start: Use the navigation bar to the right to work your way through each of those steps.

Note: We have deliberately left out the part of “pulling your hair out while trying to understand which wretched detail of your complicated algorithm causes it to fail spectacularly” (we’ve been there…).