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Eclipse C/C++ Development Tooling (CDT) can be used as a multi-feature editor and debugger for gnucash. Eclipse is a Java IDE but has a C/C++ project which has become quite mature. See

Getting the Software

A new main release is usually every year at the end of june available. As of june 2017 Version 4.7 "Oxygen" is recent. Usually the first letter of the code name will increase by one for each main release.

An Eclipse Package


If Eclipse is unavailable by the package manager of your distribution or outdated, have a look at the Eclipses package comparision page and choose that, which covers most of your needs - obvisous it should include C/C+, because that contains the Autotools, which are used in the documentation, too. Then get it from the Eclipse download page.

As an facilitated alternative you can at first download the eclipse-installer,

  • verify the sha,
Single users can apply the following steps also by installing both somewhere in their $HOME directory without admin rights.
  • extract it to e.g. /opt/eclipse-installer and run as admin
  • /opt/eclipse-installer/eclipse-inst
  • Choose your desired package and its installation directory.

With Synaptic under Ubuntu / Debian

It's 2010/02/24 and the latest stable Ubuntu is 9.10 "Karmic." I believe the Debian procedure may be similar. HOWEVER, the Ubuntu packages may not be in sync with Debian.

There have been some bugs reported that affect the function of the Eclipse windows and buttons. See and for some details, and a corresponding Launchpad bug with workaround is here:

This problem with GTK may explain the redraw issues I describe in the steps below...?

Install Eclipse

Open Synaptic Package Manager or Aptitude or whatever and install the Eclipse package. The current version as of these instructions is "Galileo," version 3.5.1.

Required Plugins

Add Plugin and Development Tool Software Sites in Eclipse

Note: In more recent version you can simply search Help->Eclipse Marketplace for your desired plugins.

Note: Replace "Galileo" with with the name of your Eclipse release.

For some reason the Galileo Eclipse package installs with NO default links to the standard software sites. So the Help --> Install New Software panel has NOTHING in it until you add the appropriate URLs.

  • Add the Galileo repository: click Add...
Name: Galileo
  • Add the Schemeway repository: click Add...
Name: Schemeway
  • Once the software sites are included it's easy to install the C environment and Schemeway.

Install C/C++ if not already part of your package

This is recommend also if you work on the documentation (gnucash-doc) or the website (htdocs), because they all make use of the autotools (configure, make, ...), which can be accessed by this package.

  1. choose Help --> Install New Software
  2. In the Work with menu, choose Galileo. (For some odd reason, nothing shows up in the software list on my system. I found I could put a * or Enter or something in the filter text field and the software list shows up.)
  3. Scroll down to Programming Languages
  4. Choose Eclipse C/C++ Development Tools (Currently this installs version
  5. Click the Next button a few times, maybe answer a licensing question, and then the Finish button. It takes a few minutes to finish.

Suggested Plugins

Install eGit package if you wish to upate your repository from inside Eclipse

Eclipse's Git repository support is provided by the eGit package.

Optional Plugins

Reports etc.: Guile

  • Install & adjust Dandelion (to be tested)
  • Install Schemeway (stalled, prerequisite below)


  • JDT - Eclipse Java Developement Tools
  • PDE - Plugin Developement Environment

If not already installed:

  1. Help -> Eclipse Marketplace or in old versions:
    1. Help --> Install New Software
    2. In the Work with menu, choose Galileo or wharever the codename of your release is.
  2. Search JDT and mark it,
  3. Search PDE and mark it,
  4. Click the Next button ...


  1. (You may already be here) Help --> Install New Software
  2. In the Work With menu, choose Schemeway.
  3. Put an * or Enter or something in the filter text field to make the list show up.
  4. Choose "SchemeWay Feature" (Currently this installs version 1.2.15)
  5. Click the Next button a few times, maybe answer a licensing question, and then the Finish button. It takes a few seconds to finish.

gnc-fq-*, Finance::Quote: Perl

There are several tools available:

  • Eclipse Perl Integration (EPIC)
  • Perl Developement Tools
  • Perlipse

Website htdocs: PHP

Install PHP Developement Tools (PDT)

Documentation, Translation, Account Templates: DocBook/XML

There are several XML editors and tools if you wish to work on the documentation or account chart templates.

  • Docbook Editing and Processing for Eclipse (DEP4E) integrates Docbook XML and XSL, FOP, ...
  • Visual Editor for Xml and
  • Mylyn-Wikitext

should produce Docbook output and are under EPL.


Linux Tools has a bunch of useful tools - if you are on Linux.

Bug Triage

In the category Team Synchronizing are inter alia a connector to bugzilla.

Working with Eclipse on GnuCash

With CMake & Ninja

You may be interested in "cmake -G"Eclipse CDT4 - Ninja" (adding a few more options as needed). That would tell cmake to generate project files for Eclipse. I'm not sure whether cmake will only build CDT files, but I suspect it would also generate the relevant ninja files. I'd run it first in a separate build directory.

First a few directory definitions I'll use in the subsequent commands:

  • srcdir: the source directory (your git clone of the gnucash repo),
  • builddir: the target directory in which to build gnucash and also where cmake will be run,
  • wsdir: the eclipse workspace,
  • installdir: where gnucash will be installed.

I suggest you keep the 4 directories seperate, none should be a subdirectory of any other. You can group them if you like in one base directory.

  1. clone gnucash into srcdir
    git clone src
  2. make the builddir and wsdir
    mkdir build ws install
  3. cd into builddir (I assume it's next to srcdir in basedir)
    cd build/
  4. run cmake like so:
    cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=debug -G"Eclipse CDT4 - Ninja" -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=../install ../src
    Note I assume installdir is also next to srcdir and builddir. If not adjust paths as needed.
  5. start eclipse and open/create wsdir workspace. Again, be sure builddir, srcdir and installdir are not subdirectories of wsdir.
  6. Once the workspace is open in eclipse choose File->Import...
  7. Select "General->Existing Projects into Workspace" as import option and click next
  8. As "root directory" choose builddir, make sure "Copy to workspace" is *not* checked and click finish

Wait a while and voila, eclipse is ready for gnucash development with cmake and ninja-build. This method will not write a single file in the source directory so you will be free to use all git commands there without risking to damage your eclipse project.

I found some help on SO for the importing part:


With AutoTools

This section needs a review!

With Eclipse >= 3.6 ("Helios") and the CDT >= 7.x installed, using eclipse to develop gnucash is rather easy, but there are several ways possible:

  • use Eclipse only as IDE for editing and debugging and traditional command line tools for the rest
  • install and learn how to
  • use plugins for git
Tip: After you configured them, most git commands are in the project explorers context menu in the submenu Team. More commands like git clean are available after you switch from your default C/C++ perspective to the Git perspective. Just click the tabulators in the upper right corner after you once opened them via Window->Open Perspective.
  • configure the autotools chain in CDT to work the GnuCash way
If you wish to have a separate build directory disable in Window->Preferences->General->Workspace:Build automatically.
Tips: If you already checked out your project, you can
  • add the autotools property by File->New->Convert to a C/C++ Autotools Project,
  • for htdocs after that Configure->Add PHP Support,
  • If you wish to use a separate build dir, enter it in Properties->C/C++ Build->Builder Settings of your project,
  • to avoid getting your eclipse configuration files delete, when you run git clean -fdx, you might consider to run
git config --global alias.xclean "clean -xdf -e /.project -e /.cproject -e /.autotools -e /.settings"
and later call
git xclean
instead of git clean -fdx. The global switch is only required if you have more than one git repository.
  • disable the Relative Dates in Window->Preferences->Team->Git->History.

The quick way

  • Get a local working copy of gnucash from GitHub, as described on the Git page, as follows:
git clone gnucash
cd gnucash
  • Open a console and change into the directory of the newly created working copy. As described on Building, call
mkdir build        # Create the separate build directory
cd build
  • If that completed without error, start your Eclipse.
  • Choose File -> New -> Other... -> C++ -> "Makefile Project with Existing Code".
  • Choose some project name for yourself, and
  • choose the newly created working copy directory as "Existing Code Location".
  • Choose the "GNU Autotools Toolchain" as toolchain. Click Finish.

You can now edit the source code and also call "Build Project", and this will work as expected, i.e. it will result in the "gnucash" executable in src/bin.

Tip: After running file changing commands outside of eclipse you should refresh the respective directories in eclipse - press <F5> after selecting the respective project or subdirectory in the project explorer.

From Inside Eclipse


  • It seems egit wants to separate the local repository (default: $HOME/git/<name>) from the workspace (default: $HOME/workspace/<name>) of a repository.
  • This section is still in development.
  • This is not only one way. If your way is shorter or better, feel free to improve this section. E.g. how to
  • (re-)run
  • sudo make install

Initial steps

To avoid annoying warnings, you should turn off automatic build:
  • Project -> Build automatically
  • Preferences->Run/Debug->Launching->"build (if required) before launching".
  1. Clone the git project:
    Warning! Don't use Eclipse's Git as long as Bugs to fix for proper symlink support is not fixed! We have at least a symlink in gnucash-docs/guide/ja/fdl-appendix.xml.
    1. Switch to the project explorer view. Eventually you has to open Window->Open perspective->Other...->C/C++
    2. Context menu-> or File->Import...->Projects from Git->Clone URI
      1. URI: for code, documentation or website.
        The remaining field will be autofilled or stay empty
      2. Branch Selection: (unchanged)
      3. Local Destination:
        Directory: <your local repository>
        Branch: master
      4. Select a wizard to use for importing projects:
        Import as general project (needs later Convert to C/C++ Autotools Project)
        In theory one could use the new project wizzard too, but that has no autotools option (in Eclipse 4.3)
  2. Add autotools property, 2. or 3. alternative:
    Currently htdocs is no autotools but a makefile project.
    1. Select the Project Explorer
    2. File->New->Convert to a C/C++ Autotools Project
      1. Convert to C/C++ Autotools Project
        Candidates: gnucash*
        Language: C++ for cutecash, C else
      2. Select a Configuration
        (no changes)
      3. Additional Project Settings
        (no changes)
    3. File->New->C/C++->Makefileproject with existing Code
      1. Project Name: (as you like)
        Existing Code Location: (Local Destination from above)
        Languages: C for GnuCash, additional C++ for Cutecash (can be disabled for docs/htdocs)
        Toolchain for indexer Settings: GNU Autotools Toolchain
    4. Instead of ./ now Reconfigure Project from the context menu should work.
  3. For a separate build directory:
    Project->Properties->C/C++ Build->Builder Settings->Build directory: ${workspace_loc:/gnucash[-[ht]docs]}/build
    Tip: You can define different build configurations e.g. for test and final build with Project->Properties->C/C++ Build->Builder Settings->Manage Configurations...
  4. Configure Parameters:
    Project->Properties->Autotools->Configure Settings->...
    Most standard parameters can be set in the different sections, specific parameters belong to Advanced->Additional command-line options.
    In case there is no Project->Properties->Autotools entry, execute File -> New -> Other... -> C/C++ -> Convert to a C/C++ Project and specify Project Type: GNU Autotools.
  5. Further Customization of Eclipse
    1. By default the Project Explorer hides a bunch of file, e.g. .* resulting in invisible .gitignore etc.
      Mars and newer
      Use the Navigator Window->Show View->Navigator instead of the Project Explorer.
      Review inside it View Menu->Customize View->Filters to change that behavior.
  6. Optional: Using Tasks
    1. Tasks from Source Code
      By default Eclipse creates a task list from special strings like "FIXME", "TODO" or "XXX". You can adjust the list
      1. global: Window->Preferences->General->Editors->Task Tags or
      2. project specific: Project->Properties->...
    2. Local Tasks: In the <Task list</tt> view create category as container and inside simple tasks
    3. Link Bugzilla: In the <Task list</tt> view New Query->Add Task Repository->Bugzilla...
      Product: Gnucash
      Component: ...
      You should either only query a small amount of entries or in Window->Preferences->Mylyn->Tasks disable Synchronize with Repositories or increase the interval. Otherwise bugzilla thinks, you are running a DOS attack and will block you.
  1. Import include files: This is somehow ugly because you must set some of the directories you require. It seems, if you have
    #include <glib/some_module> that is not associated with the
    /usr/include/glib-2.0/some_module directory because of "glib"<>"glib-2.0".
    To browse the .h-includefiles you must enter each missing folder to the include path:
    • (global:) Window->Preferences->[FIXME]... or
    • (project specific:) Project ->Properties -> Path and Symbols -> Includes or
    • (older versions:) Project ->Properties -> C/C++ Build -> Tab "Tool Settings" -> Directories:
    add the relevant include paths: e.g.
    \usr\include\ # should fetch most includes for a linux build
    C:\soft\gnome\include\gtk-2.0 # and so on for a Windows build
    "${workspace_loc:/gnucash/lib/libqof/backend}" # only on complains,
    ${workspace_loc:/gnucash/src/app-utils} # etc.
    You might wish to set the checkmarks for
    Add to all configurations
    Add to all languages
    See also
(Cross-) Compiling for Windows
  1. Project -> Properties -> C/C++ Build -> Tool Chain Editor
    1. deselect "Show project types and toolsets only if they are supported by the platform"
    2. Select Toolchain: "MinGW GCC"
Documenters and Translators
  • In Windows->Preferences->General->Editors->File Associations select *.xml and make your prefered editor the default, which opens on double clicking.
  • Windows->Preferences->XML->XML-Catalog allows you to specify the cataloges on your system, e.g. for Opensuse /etc/xml/catalog, additionally to the cataloges provided by your plugins. Now you can validate your work from the context menu point Validate.
GnuCash Developers

Committers have to do a few additional steps to get most benefits from Eclipse.

SSH Key Management

At first you need a SSH key to be able to commit. This can be done in

Window->Preferences->General->Network Connection->SSH2

[FIXME: Are there additional requirements for Windows?]

Send your pulic key to the Gnucash administrator to become well known.

There is also a password manager in

Window->Preferences->General->Security->Secure Storage

which can save your passphrase to unlock your SSH key. If you use this feature, you should set a master password on you password manager!


It seems EGit can not configure a push url different from the fetch url, so you should do it in git:

git remote set-url --push origin 

If you commit patches of other contributors, add their name and email address to the Author field in the commit dialog instead of yours.


eclipse CDT Autotools User Guide

Tips for your real work

Using the Bugzilla Connector =

The connector will keep you up to date in a configurable intervall. Because it is not always in the same state as the real bugzilla, it is less useful for submitting changes.

While you can apply patches by right click on the attachment, it is harder to get a compressed attachment like a zipped po file:

Open the Task in an editor window
right click on the attachement, save it in a temporary directory
While you right click in the project explorer in the right directory Import...->General->Archive file, select the file in your temporary directory.
Don't forget, to add it to the git index, if it is OK.


Some useful hints for editing:

  • CTRL+Shift+T: Open Element (function, variable, Macro etc)
  • CTRL+Shift+R: Open file
  • F3: open the definition of an element
  • CTRL+Alt+h: open call hierarchy

... and much more...


  • Project->Build...
  • other targets: Project->Make Targets->Build <shift>+<F9>: (select one)


You can use eclipse as a debugging interface. The idea is to attach eclipse to the running gnucash process.

  1. Run->Open Debug Dialog ->"C/C++ Attach to local app" -> New
  2. Select C:\soft\gnucash\inst\bin\gnucash-bin.exe
  3. You must specify the path to your source folder: Path mapping "../../../repos" to "C:\soft\gnucash\repos"
  4. Now start gnucash as usual from inst/bin (ignore warnings about errors in workspace)
  5. Launch your debugging configuration in eclipse
  6. Select the process to attach to (gnucash-bin.exe)
  7. The process will be interrupted. Try if you can browse to gnc_ui_start_event_loop. If not start over with the Source tab (see step 3).
  8. Make sure you have put some breakpoints in and hit Continue
  9. If a breakpoint is encountered you can step through with F6, F5 etc., inspect variables and so on.