November 4, 2010

Highlights from ESE

ESE is already over, and from this edition I would like to retain 3 things :
  • Community is open and diverse

Photo from Cliff

Eclipse is a community, and ESE is an awesome opportunity to meet in real life members of Eclipse community. I have found that the attendance was a good mix of committers, adopters and end users which lead to interesting discussion and feedback about projects and technologies. I have liked the accessibility and open mindedness of every person I met.

  • Modeling is everywhere

It was impressive to see that people have understood that modeling is not limited to UML and code generation.

On a textual side Xtext and Acceleo were the 2 stars with a lot of talks presenting their functionalities or exemplary usage. There was also a tutorial combining them to learn how to use these 2 great technologies to model and generate android applications.

On graphical side, there were plenty of eye candy things to see. EEF presentation from Goulwen showed how you could easily generate sexy properties and wizards for a metamodel. Mitra, a semi-automated model transformation tool, presentation showed a 3D user interface where each model is displayed on a 2D plane. I am not sure this is scalable but it was a great demo of what's can be done with GEF3D. Papyrus presentation showed the progress they have made in providing an UML (but not limited to it) reference graphical editor. Bonita Open Solution presentation showed a very attractive and intuitive BPMN editor. In its presentation of modeling for WTP, Etienne showed briefly modelers build with Obeo Designer, our DSL Studio on top of the eclipse modeling platform. Papyrus, Bonita Open Solution, and Obeo Designer relies on the GMF Runtime. Graphiti is a new alternative runtime, and its presentation was a demo of a beautiful library modeler. Last but not least and good transition, Dawn demo of collaborative edition between editors, including diagram ones was amazing.

Model management concerns had a very good coverage this year. CDO is aimed at scalability, sharing and storage of models and Eike presentation about it was very comprehensive. The more I know about CDO, the more I find it well-designed. COPE focus on models migration and its presentation pointed up the advanced tooling they provide to facilitate metamodel evolution. EMF Store is dedicated to models storage and versioning. It uses EMF Compare for comparison and COPE for migration. A talk and a poster were presented.

Other great stuffs were presented like collaboration of EMF and GWT for modeling in the cloud, or Sphinx an initiative to have a more coherent modeling platform.

According to this the modeling symposium was a real success. Many talks on various topics from different speakers. My only regret is that with such a crowd, it was a bit difficult to start a discussion just after a talk, but that's probably the price of fame.
  • Build simplification is moving forward

Photo from jolien_vallins

In past I had some headaches with eclipse build technologies. There are several approaches and several projects (PDE Build, Athena, Pluginbuilder, Buckminster, B3), but I think that the gap with them to create and maintain a build remains quite high. The demo I have seen from Pascal of tycho, let me think that it's a promising approach as I have found that it hides the complexity.

Of course there was lot of other pretty cool talks and demos, like the Jeff Noris keynote, that you missed if you weren't at ESE this year. See you next time !

August 27, 2010

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May 10, 2010

Resize matters !

A spam like title because recently I worked was on resize stuffs :
  • On GEF Bot there was a painful bug . If the edit part was resizable, a drag behaves like a resize. Now drag behaves correctly and a new resize method is available to resize an edit part :

  • Do you find useful the ability to drag the selector figure in the outline of GMF Editors ? you will probably like the ability the resize this figure (fullscreen video) :

    I will try to contribute this feature for 3.7

February 10, 2010

GSoC 2010

Now that Google announced that they will sponsor this year again students to work on some cool open-source projects, I hope Eclipse foundation will be candidate again.

Mentoring organizations should candidate before March 12, but we could start now to collect ideas, they could be contributed on the wiki. GSoC is an incredible opportunity for eclipse community to see enhancements or new features added to your favorite projects, do not miss it !

If you are a student and don't know how to get involved, have a look to our new contribute page.

you will find more info on the GSoC 2010 flyer and important date on the timeline.

February 2, 2010

Sketch capabilities for your GEF based editor

As everyone, I suppose you have seen iPad videos, at least you heard about it :

iPad from stadycam on Vimeo.

I suppose you have complained about its closed platform, its single-task os, or may be its tendentious commercial name. However with such a device (a tablet), you think your GEF based editor could benefit from sketch capabilities ? Indeed that something Ugo Sangiorgi did :

OmniModeling on MoLIC Editor from Ugo Sangiorgi on Vimeo.

The good news is that it will probably be contributed to If you are interested, have a look to this new project proposal.

January 7, 2010

Know your limits

Thanks to OSGi one of the main qualities of Eclipse ecosystem is its modularity.
In a modular architecture, contract between components is fundamental. I called contract not only the features offered by a component but also its limitations. Quite often we tend to concentrate on features and and miss limitations.

To illustrate my point I will take as an example SWT Eclipse component
I recently needed to add printing support to a custom editor. SWT provides some printing API. I first tried an approach which consisted of printing a snapshot of my already drawn widget. I did it using the SWT faq and added quite easily header, footer and fit to page support but it remained a blocking bug. Sometimes, randomly, a white shadow (of the previously opened print dialog) appeared on my printed widget. I tried to hack by calling redraw and update methods on the control but as I am not a graphic guru I gave up and finally have implemented the printing feature with success using the excellent PaperClips library.

During my hack attempt I saw in code that Printer.getDPI() returns always 72X72 in SWT GTK implementation. I don't want to blame anyone neither SWT nor GTK, just remark that on linux print is not completely supported, and this information may be difficult to find until your get the bug or read concerned code.

So quick reminder for developers : think to document your component limitations !