How To: Browse remote files in Eclipse IDE

Eclipse, Tips n Tricks, Tools always amaze me with the kind of tooling that they go on adding to the Eclipse Platform. Few months back when I was browsing the different projects in Eclipse, I stumbled on Remote System Explorer (RSE)

Remote System Explorer is part of Target Management which in turn in a subproject of Device Software Development Platform (DSDP).

The purpose of the Target Management project is to creates data models and frameworks to configure and manage remote systems, their connections, and their services.

Remote System Explorer helps in

  • Creating connections to remote Linux/Unix Servers
  • Exploring the remote file system
  • Editing and saving remote files
  • Open shells and execute commands
  • Search for files on the remote system



(Note: I have a slightly old version of RSE at my workplace. The wizard data might differ in the new version)

The default Remote System Explorer view shows your system’s local file system by default.

You can additionally configure/add new connections via the “New Connection” dialog

Input the host name and connection name (optionally you can input connections description)

Once a new connection is added, you can connect to the sever using the required security credentials. After a successful connection you should be able to explore the remote system from the Navigator view.

The remote files can be opened/edited and saved from within Eclipse. Default Eclipse editors come into action based on the type of the remote file.

You can launch a shell and execute commands (Even the environment variables for the shell can be set)

With RSE plugin, my usage of Putty (Poderosa) has reduced a little bit.

Even for copying files between the local machine and the remote server, I don’t need to do FTP/SCP. I just drag and drop the files between the remote file system and the local file system.

More Tutorials/Documentation

The RSE tutorial and the TM Overview slides give more details on the features in RSE.

IBM also has detailed documentation on Remote System Explorer

(Note: All the features in IBM RSE might not still be part of Eclipse RSE)

9 comments… add one

  • Ivan Jul 2, 2007

    I didn’t see a way to download files… Am I missing something? Thanks for the great blog though, very awesome and undernoticed plugin.

  • Ivan Jul 2, 2007

    ahh nevermind, figured it out :)

  • Venu Jul 2, 2007

    Ivan,Nice to know that the post was of some use :)

    Meanwhile I was testing Eclipse 3.3 with the new version of RSE. It looks like its much faster than the old version. Not sure if I should credit Europa or RSE.

  • Ivan Jul 2, 2007

    Hi Venu!

    In general I’m noticing Europa is very fast :). One more question, have you figured out a way to have RSE create/edit files with a set of predefined permissions? Otherwise, my files are not editable by other users in my group.

    It’s create files with ivan:ivan, when it should be creating, ivan:devgroup

  • Venu Jul 2, 2007

    I just checked on how it behaves at my workplace. I logged in to one of our dev boxes using my credentials, created a file and checked the file permissions. Both the user and group have “rw” access.

    If you login via a terminal and create a file, with what permissions is the file created ? I guess the behavior should be same via eclipse RSE also unless you are using different credentials while logging in from RSE.

  • Matt Nov 14, 2008

    Anybody know how to add a remote file (or folder) as a resource to an existing project?

  • Tamlyn Jun 4, 2009

    Thanks for this description. I wasted over an hour trying to work out how the hell to browse stuff using RSE. Showing the local file system tree in the sidebar seems like such a basic feature, I can’t believe Eclipse makes it this complicated!

    Anyway, thanks.

  • Arturs Nov 16, 2009

    Here’s how you can add remote folder to the existing project.
    Before you follow the steps below, make sure that you are connected to an Remote system or Remote site explorer (as described in the blog post above).

    So, without further ado – here’s how you add remote directories to your project:
    1) File -> New -> Folder
    2) Select your project in the window that appears
    3) Press “Advanced”
    4) Check “Link to folder in the file system”
    5) Choose file system – RSE
    6) “Browse…” -> Connection = your ssh server
    7) Browser for the folder in the view below
    8) Press “OK”
    9) Press “Finish”
    10)Vòila, you are there!

  • Julio Dec 14, 2009

    There seems to be an issue with remote linked folders if there are multiple connections to the same box with different accounts. Apparently Eclipse doesn’t associate a specific connection(i.e. user account) to the remote linked folder, instead it uses one of the connections randomly, which may be a problem if you want to edit files with one particular account or the other account doesn’t have write permission. Everything else looks awesome.

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