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Impressions of EclipseCon 2008

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Impressions of EclipseCon 2008

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Wayne Beaton, Christian Dupuis and Lynn Gayowski share their thoughts about the best moments of EclipseCon 2008. 

It was the strongest conference yet with some key announcements that have set us up for an interesting future with Eclipse. I'd be really interested  to hear what you thought of it too, and where you see Eclipse heading in the next few months.

Ian Skerrett has also posted this year's EclipseCon demographics, which makes for some interesting reading. Some things there are to be expected, such as the amount of technies vs marketting/management - 66% of the people there were developers or architects. You can also read about the most popular projects at the conference, with the JDT being the most popular, naturally. However, it's great to see that RCP, EMF and GEF are up near the top too - proving that people are building on the Eclipse platform.

Wayne Beaton

[img_assist|nid=2021|title=Wayne Beaton|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=150|height=225]Wayne is employed by the Eclipse Foundation where he works as technology evangelist.

What was the highlight of the conference for you?
The keynotes were good… great even. Finally meeting Eric Rizzo, one of the most prolific contributors on eclipse.newcomer, face-to-face was great. I attended many sessions and enjoyed them all (though I have to admit a certain amount of guilt for “live-blogging” during the sessions; i.e. typing when I should have been listening). I learned a lot. Stalking Frank Gerhardt was fun.

If I had to pick one thing that was the highlight of the show, it’d be watching Pascal Rapicault talk about p2. p2 is an interesting topic and I learned a lot. Pascal is obviously passionate about the work that’s been done and the care that the p2 developers are taking to make sure that the introduction of p2 with Ganymede is as smooth as possible for all involved. However, what I learned pales in comparison to the sheer enjoyment of watching Pascal present. I mean this in a purely complimentary way: he’s a compelling and charismatic speaker. Don’t worry Pascal, it’s not a man-crush or anything…

What was the most important thing that you learned?
Cory Doctorow made a comment along the lines of "Ideas are cheap. Execution is hard". I knew this already, but was nice to hear it so concisely summarized.

I learnt how easy it is to use Riena to do remote service calls with Equinox. Fundamentally, Riena is about distributing services across tiers. It’s born from a need to have applications that are lighter than rich clients, but more functional and performant than light clients. Applications built on Equinox (like those leveraging Eclipse Rich Client Platform, or OSGi-based server-side applications) are compositions of bundles and services. Equinox services are conceptually similar to web services; they are created, registered, discovered, invoked, deregistered, updated, etc.

What was the best talk that you attended?
I enjoyed many of the talks. As mentioned previously the Riena talk was great.

I attended “Understanding JFace Data Binding“, presented by Boris Bokowski (IBM Rational Software), Michael Scharf (Wind River), and Frank Gerhardt (Gerhardt Informatics). I loved the presentation style. They very likely didn’t plan for the rough edges around the presentation, but I found it effective. Boris would say things like “of course, you have to have an ObservablesManager” and Michael (who was driving the demo), would say, “what?!?”. Then they’d update the implementation and tell us about it. A very effective way of making sure that folks in the audience would remember (or maybe they did plan it). 

I sat in on Marcel Offermans’, Karl Pauls’ (both from luminis) tutorial titled “Building Secure OSGi Applications“. Marcel and Karl provided a good incremental discovery approach to the tutorial, starting with the pre-OSGi 4.0 way of managing permission and moving quickly into the state of the art. The take-away from this tutorial for me is that—if you need security in your OSGi application— ConditionalPermissions and BundleSignerConditions are the starting point.

 “Server-Side Eclipse - the dynamic server platform based on OSGi” presented by Jochen Hiller (Deutsche Telekom AG, Germany), Frank Gerhardt (Gerhardt Informatics). “Server-side Eclipse” is a term that shocks some people. What does it mean for Eclipse to run on a server? If perception is reality, then perception tells us that “Server-side Eclipse” means “Eclipse IDE for Java Developers running on the server”. What we really mean is “Equinox running on the server”. Equinox is the component model, based on the OSGi specification, that underlies Eclipse. An Eclipse product (like Eclipse IDE for Java Developers) is a collection of plug-ins (or bundles) and Equinox is what makes sense of it all and makes it work. Equinox can help you make a server-side application based on bundles; Equinox makes sense of it all.

In Using ECF for Lightweight Distributed Team Collaboration Scott Lewis (BEA Systems), started by stating the goals of the Eclipse Communication Framework (ECF) project: to “lower barriers to team and community communication by providing [an] interoperable, integrated, extensible framework

What do you see happening in the next few months in Eclipse, now that the conference is over?
The creation of the Eclipse RT project will continue and gain traction and much mindshare.

For me, this was the best year ever. I was able to attend more talks and talk with more people than ever before. The technical content was top-shelf.


Christian Dupuis

[img_assist|nid=1989|title=Christian Dupuis|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=120|height=160]Christian is co-lead of the SpringIDE and is heavily involved with Eclipse. SpringSource's major announcement of the week was the availability of the SpringSource Tool Suite, based on Eclipse and using Mylyn heavily.

What was the highlight of the conference for you?
I personally had an amazing time at EclipseCon. It was my first and I was overwhelmed by the quality, number and level of technical session on the schedule. For me the highlight of the conference was the outstanding opportunity for networking with users, Eclipse community members and analysts.

What was the most important thing that you learned?
I've learned that OSGi and everything that falls under the OSGi runtime topic will be very important this year and beyond. I think we will see OSGi on the server-side very soon given the talks and content I've seen at the conference.


What was the best talk that you attended?
Definitely the keynote by Dan Lyons (Fake Steve). This was just entertaining and really fun to attend.

What do you see happening in the next few months in Eclipse, now that the conference is over?
It will be very interesting to see how the Eclipse community will position and market their runtime efforts with the birth of the Runtime top-level project. Furthermore I hope to see some interesting innovations resulting from the e4 initiative. There were some interesting thoughts during the e4 talk and BoF.

Lynn Gayowski

[img_assist|nid=1990|title=Lynn Gayowski|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=200|height=200]Lynn is the Marketting Events Manager for the Eclipse Foundation.

Highlight
Without a doubt, meeting members of the Eclipse community in person was the highlight of the conference for me.  I arrived in Santa Clara on Sunday afternoon and immediately started meeting people just waiting in line at the hotel.  I talked so much I lost my voice before the opening keynote on Tuesday morning.  That's the sign of a good conference.  There are so many people we email with on a regular basis, and it was wonderful to finally put faces to names. It was also an honour to be a bobblehead for Genuitec's giveaways.

Most Important Thing I Learned
You're stumping me.  Since I'm not on the technical side, most of what I learned at EclipseCon is on the soft and fuzzy side, rather than a new Eclipse tip or product.  I'll go with Cory Doctorow's quote from his keynote "Ideas are cheap.  Execution is hard."

Best Talk
The Fake Steve Jobs keynote is an obvious choice. Dan Lyons was hilarious and it was cool to hear about how he got into blogging and why he chose Steve Jobs as his alter-ego.

I also enjoyed the closing panel on Thursday where the PMC spoke on a theme of Eclipse 2010.  They gave their predictions on what Eclipse technology and EclipseCon would look like in 2 years.
The talk that helped me the most was a panel titled Building Open Source Communities: One Contributor at a Time.  I'm always interested to hear how we can grow participation in projects and build the community.

Happening Next
My hope for Eclipse over the next few months is that the people new to EclipseCon, who now have a better sense of how to contribute to the community, start to actively join in.  I know some projects were able to connect with new people and organized working groups, so it would be great to see an increase in contributions (filing bugs, submitting patches, helping on newsgroups, etc.).  Next on the list is the Ganymede release at the end of June!

[img_assist|nid=1991|title=EclipseCon Bobbleheads|desc=|link=none|align=undefined|width=500|height=304]

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