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 !