Managing and sharing preferences for teams, revisited

Posted on 2021-02-23 by Wim Meeus

A common problem in larger teams is how to share Sigasi preferences (configuration) in design teams or between workspaces. This article revisits and updates an earlier article from 2015. New tools are created, old ones get replaced - hello 2021!

A large number of preferences control the behaviour of Sigasi Studio. While some of them are entirely up to individual taste (e.g. the IDE theme), other preferences should be set the same for all team members to ensure smooth teamwork. For example:

  • Auto-complete templates as well as validation / linting settings should reflect the team’s coding style.
  • Indentation and formatting options should be the same; if not, reformatting a file could add unneeded whitespace changes or cause other unnecessary merge conflicts in revision control.
  • All team members need the (floating) license configuration for Sigasi Studio to work.

Two main groups of preferences exist: workspace preferences and project preferences. Sigasi Studio (and the underlying Eclipse platform) does not have one single configuration file. Preferences are stored in several files and directories.

Project preferences are the easiest to handle. Sigasi Studio (and Eclipse) keep project preferences in the project directory, in files .project and .library_mapping.xml and directory .settings. It suffices to store these with the project in version control for the whole team to share them.

Workspace preferences are a different story. These settings are kept in the workspace directory, together with caches of Sigasi’s background processes. Storing workspaces and workspace settings in version control is not recommended. A number of useful options exist for storing and sharing workspace preferences. Depending on your team’s particular needs and level of experience, one may be more suitable than the other.

Small teams may choose to use a preferences file. The team keeps a preferences file (.epf) on an (internal) website. Team members import the preferences from a URL, e.g. a team website or wiki. This approach is quick and easy to implement.

Large teams may want to use Oomph to share workspace settings. Oomph is the Eclipse installer. It can be configured to create customized Eclipse installations with Sigasi Studio and other plugins for e.g. your version control system and additional programming languages. Preferences can be configured, and projects can be checked out as part of the Eclipse setup. The Sigasi manual contains some examples of how to customize Oomph for your environment. As setting up Oomph from scratch is not straightforward, we recommend to use these examples as a basis for your customization.

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