Guide to Subclipse Decorator Icons

July 15th, 2009

In my current role, we are using Subversion (SVN) as our version control system. As an Eclipse user, I am using the Subclipse plugin that allows you to easily interact with Subversion to commit changes and make updates to your code. I quickly noticed that there was no online resource out there that specifically talked about what the “decorator” icons mean in Subclipse, and thought this might be helpful for new users of Subclipse. “Decorator” icons are icons that are added to your file icons in Eclipse whenever you make a change, add a file, etc.

Eclipse does include the icons under Preferences > Team > SVN, but the explanation is reduced to one word in each case. I have included the one word descriptions with the icons below.

Table 1: Icons within your project

Icon What this means to you
Plus sign The “plus” sign indicates that this is a new file that did not exist before.
Asterisk The “asterisk” indicates that this file has been changed since the last Commit
Question Mark The “question mark” indicates that this file is not part of the Version Control. All new files you create will have this icon. You need to add them (right-click >> Team >> Add to Version Control). If you don’t add them, they will still show up when doing your Commit, so you may be able to add them here by including them in your commit.
Unchanged The “yellow pipe” indicates no change to the file. It is also used on folders.
ignored No decorater means the file is ignored completely. This is similar in effect to the Question Mark. By default, files have the Question Mark. To remove that mark, you need to (right-click >> Team >> Add to svn:ignore…)
conflicted Conflicted: I have not encountered this.
Read Only Read Only: I have not encountered this.
Check Mark Locked: I have not encountered this.

You will also run into some new icons within the commit process, documented below

Table 2: Icons during the Commit Process

Icon What this means to you
add The “plus” within the arrow means this file is new in your version, and will be added to the latest Server revision
delete The “minus” within the arrow means this file has been deleted in your version, and will be deleted from the latest Server revision.
updated The blank arrow means this file has been updated, and will be updated in the latest Server revision.
Unversioned Commit Icon with Question Mark The Question Mark means this file has not been added to Version control. I have not checked if this updates if you check the update box!

I am likely missing some icons above. I have not run into any conflicts as of yet, so I may not have stumbled into every scenario. I will update this post as I encounter new icons.

Note: I am using Eclipse Ganymede 3.4.0, and the “Default” icons.

Any questions or corrections, leave me a comment!

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4 comments to “Guide to Subclipse Decorator Icons”

  1. Rory, we met several months ago at a Java Meetup (the topic was Seam, don’t remember the month). We sat roughly across from each other at the Asgard. You gave me your business card, and that business card has been sitting on my bathroom counter ever since. I don’t know why. I kept meaning to look you up. So here I am, looking you up.

    And I’m delighted to see that it seems you have a job now! Congrats!


  2. Thanks Eric, I am not fully employed, so still looking. Hopefully you got my email.

  3. What is a big red X decorator mean?

    I think it means that it used to exist (but not in the repository), but I deleted it (though I haven’t checked anything in). Though if it never existed in the repo, then why does eclipse (or SVN) think that my determined efforts to kill it should be rendered futile? (I finally move to the Linux operating system and removed them for real there, and they went away).

  4. FYI, if the icon is purple (but otherwise resembles “unchanged”), it appears to indicate that individual file has been switched to another branch.

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