There’s something about Vancouver

Dr. Mik KerstenPosted by

Maybe it’s the dark and rainy winter evenings that lend themselves to long programming sessions. Or maybe it’s the ability to stretch your eyes by staring off into the snow-capped peaks on coffee breaks, or how easy it is to escape to the mountains and islands on weekends to get re-energized for another packed workweek.

There seems to be something about Vancouver that lends itself to innovation in the tools space. Those were the words running through my mind at the December Eclipse DemoCamp. The event may have been the densest amount of tool innovation I have seen packed into an hour and a half. While it can’t all be attributed to the spectacular geography, here is a photo from my most recent flight, with a pointer to the new Tasktop office near which the DemoCamp was held. (If you’re in or around Vancouver and interested in future Eclipse events, note that we have just put up the Vancouver Eclipse Community Eclipsepedia page.)


Robert Elves kicked off the DemoCamp event, followed by my brief summary of Mylyn and the Eclipse ecosystem. Then we had back-to-back tool demos, so I’ll let the screenshots speak for themselves.


Lars Gammel, a student at the UVic CHISEL lab in Victoria, presented his research on Nomad PIM. His RCP-based personal information management application has already been downloaded 20,000 times and is an interesting example of how such tools can be integrated with Eclipse.


David Green, Principal Tools Architect at Make Technologies, first presented his open source Textile-J which will be of interest to users of Textile.


He then presented a Mylyn Bridge for the in-house MDD tool suite that Make depends on for their modernization services. I had seen a few bug reports and patches from David but this was the first I saw of the tool, and was impressed at how quickly they had created this novel application of the Task-Focused Interface. It demonstrated that Mylyn integration can provide a productivity benefit even for in-house development tools.


Rafael Chaves of Abstratt Technologies presented a new approach to UML editing called TextUML Toolkit. There’s an interesting discussion on it in Rafael’s blog.


Andrew Eisenberg, a student at the UBC SPL lab, showed a synthesis of his PhD work and a summer internship at Business Objects. Embedded CAL makes it possible to work with CAL overlayed with Java code. Andrew’s work has interesting implications for embedding other kinds of DSLs.


Lloyd Markle, a student at UBC SPL, showed how much more flexible JQuery search scopes have become to create and combine.


Nathan Hapke, a student at UBC SPL, showed Fishtail, a very interesting extension of Mylyn that uses the task context model in order to scope searches of articles and code samples that could be relevant to the active task.


The final demonstration was me using my own workspace to show how Mylyn users can take control of their whole workday with Tasktop, which makes it possible to work almost entirely within Eclipse. We’re out of space for another screenshot in this blog entry, so I’ll save that for a post on the upcoming Tasktop 1.0 release.