I would like to ask a question with Mathematica Workbench.

The workbench is based on Eclipse. Of course, it would have no problem to add breakpoints and debug, but I wonder if it is possible to provide the advanced plotting/visualization as in a Mathematica notebook?

I remember once reading in the Mathematica documentation which said a significant portion of code needs to be rewritten for each platform (Windows, Linux, OS X) for the graphics frontend (i.e., to implement interactive notebooks), and I suspect that it will never be possible to have such support in Eclipse.

So what is the typical workflow when using Workbench? Perhaps it was never intended to provide the level of visualization as a Mathematica notebook, and WRI actually wishes users to

  1. Debug/test individual modules in a Mathematica notebook, and then wrap it, exposing certain functions/interfaces like the standard software engineering procedure.
  2. Workbench is intended to be organize projects, like Wolfram Alpha, containing dozens or more such complex modules.

1 Answer 1


I do not know where you got the idea that interactive notebooks are platform-specific. This simply isn't true.

The way the Workbench projects work is that you develop packages (.m files) in the Eclipse editor, but you can include notebooks (.nb files) in the project for testing, visualisation, interactive use of the front end or whatever.

So if you want plotting, visualisation or interactive features such as the Manipulate function, you need a notebook file, but you can include these files in a Workbench project and launch the Mathematica front end from the Eclipse-based interface.

  • $\begingroup$ Sorry for not being clear enough. I meant that the screen graphics rendering part of MMA needs is platform specific which I read in the help; this might already obsolete because the front end is possible to be written in Java, but I am unsure whether it is the case due to performance concerns. This is not the actual question :) @Verbeia $\endgroup$
    – Feng Qing
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 12:43
  • $\begingroup$ So if I want to use like manipulate plot do you mean that I can simply add such lines in .nb file, include in a Workbench project, and when running to the manipulate plot lines the Workbench will call MMA to display the graph? @Verbeia @m_goldberg $\endgroup$
    – Feng Qing
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 12:46
  • $\begingroup$ No, I mean tht you can launch the notebook from the Eclipse / Workbench project, which launches the Mathematica front end, and you can run the Manipulate (Note - case-sensitive!!) from there, possibly calling functions you have written in the .m file. The front end is provided; it is called Mathematica. $\endgroup$
    – Verbeia
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 19:47

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