What does the Eclipse of a Summer god mean a developer?

A month ago the Eclipse 3.6 shipped – again on time.

This is another evolutionary release – most components are binary compatible with the older ones, so the time of the migration was roughly equal to the download. All old favorites, such as Mylyn, EMF, etc. are updated, a lot of features were added, that makes development much easier. Some new components are also added, making a strong basis of the Eclipse eco-system.

The release features several improvements to the update mechanism, thus providing a whole new level of support for installing 3rd party plug-ins. These methods are based on the brand-new P2 provisioning API: the Modeling, Subversive or Mylyn Connector Discovery functions allows installing very specific plug-ins (making it easier to search for them), while the Eclipse Marketplace Client allows installing a wide selection of plug-ins (and this list keeps growing).

The Eclipse Marketplace Client allowing the installation of the Debug Visualisation plug-in
The Eclipse Marketplace Client in action

This solution is great, because I don’t have to remember/google for the various update site urls, and then manually select the features – if I don’t want to. If for whatever reason I need the specific knowledge, the “old” P2 user interface is still available.

A minor, but welcome addition is to the P2 interface the reliable cache clearing mechanism. It comes in handy when testing a new update site.

The Helios release is full of other gems, such as the graduated Xtext 1.0 with its new builder support, or the enhanced Variables and Breakpoints views in the Debug perspective.

My other favorite feature is the enhanced Cocoa-64 bit support for OSX – its performance/resource consumption is greatly improved, while the Dock icon overlays are also helpful (e.g. I can monitor the status a long-running task, while using another application).

Short text overlay over the dock icon

Alltogether, the new release contains quite a few enhancements, that help the developers to provide better software using the framework, while maintaining the compatibility with older releases, thus making the switch easy (and possibly cheap) to do. I can hardly await the next (Indigo) release, and I’m looking forward to the new ideas of the e4 project.

Author: Zoltán Ujhelyi

I am an Eclipse Technology Expert at IncQuery Labs Ltd. and a regular contributor of open-source projects, most importantly the VIATRA project at eclipse.org. Furthermore, I am in the process of finishing my PhD in computer science at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics focusing on analysis techniques for model queries and transformations.

2 thoughts on “What does the Eclipse of a Summer god mean a developer?”

  1. I agree, the progress bar overlay on the Dock icon is a nice touch. I’m wondering what other types of overlays would make sense… Number of incoming Mylyn task changes is one that comes to mind.

  2. In the sense of task changes incoming code changes (via Team Provider) could also be helpful.

    Or an image marker for build errors (but warnings does not seem a good idea, as in most workspaces there are always warnings). Or for development configurations (e.g. runtime workbench) it would make sense to display if a new Error log entry is written.

    But for the IDE I think, this option is not that relevant (except the progress bar). For RCP applications on the other hand…

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