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Meet This Year's Top Contributor Nominees

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Continuing our coverage of the Individual Eclipse Community Awards, following on from yesterday's interviews with the Top Ambassador nominees, today we interview the nominees for the Top Contributor category.      

The award is to recognize an Eclipse contributor who best exemplifies support for the community through submission of patches & comments on bugs, posts to newsgroups, creation of white papers,
presentations at conferences, blogs, IRC and other forums. Top contributors make their contributions due to their passion for making Eclipse a better community. In general, no one is paying them for the time they spend on making their Eclipse contributions.

This year's Top Contributor nominees are:

  • Frank Becker

    Frank is well known for his work on the Mylyn project, in particular for his work on the Bugzilla connector.
  • Benjamin Cabe

    Benjamin was nominated for all the work he has done in the PDE project, along with his contributions to the modelling and platform projects.
  • Dave Carver

    Dave has been nominated for his contributions to the WTP project, where he's involved in the XSL tools and the visual editor for XML. He is also a member of the architectural council.
  • Eugene Kuleshov

    Eugene has reported or commented on almost 3000 bugs in 7 years. He has been nominated for his work on the m2eclipse project, and is noted as being an incredibly dedicated Eclipse advocate
    Unfortunately, we do not have an interview available with Eugene.
  • Miles Parker

    Miles has been nominated for his work with the Equinox p2 team, where he has contributed something far more valuable to that team than patches: an end-user perspective that is different from that of Eclipse developers
  • Tom Schindl

    Tom has been nominated for helping to shape up the Platform UI and Databinding and recently bringing the UFacekit project over to Eclipse. He has also had a fundamental impact on the future of Eclipse through his contributions to the e4 project

Over the next few pages we will introduce and interview each of the nominees. It's interesting to see what each of these guys do for the community, so please consider each of the nominees before you place your vote.

Frank Becker

DZone: Congratulations on the nomination Frank. Could you tell us more about yourself?

Frank: Sure, my name is Frank Becker and live in Mainz, Germany with my wife and three children. I have two sons (13 and 10 years) and a girl (22 months).

DZone: What are the main things that you do within the community?

Frank: I contribute to the Mylyn project, mostly to the Bugzilla Component and occasionally fixes to the Tasks Component.

DZone: How long have you been involved with Eclipse?

Frank: The first bug I fixed was for a platform (mac) detection bug in the task editor back in May of 2007. Since then I've been a regular contributor to the Mylyn project.

DZone: Do you have a favourite project within the Eclipse ecosystem?

Frank: Yes, this is Mylyn.

DZone: In the Eclipse world, what were your highlights of 2008, and what are you looking forward to in 2009?

Frank: In 2008 I was able to contribute a number of fixes and new features to Mylyn.  So far 2009 is shaping up well as I've just become a committer on Mylyn!

DZone: What is your full time job?

Frank: I was working for LRP bank (http://lrp.de/ now http://rlp-bank.de/) and LBBW (http://lbbw.de/) savings bank. Since December of last year I've been working for R+V (http://ruv.de/), an insurance company.

DZone: What do you like most about contibuting to Eclipse?

Frank: I enjoy contributing to Eclipse because I wanted to refine my Java programming skills since my day job consists mostly of work on zOS Host with Cobol and other less commonly used languages.

DZone: Is it difficult for you to find the time to contribute to the Eclipse community?

Frank: Fortunately I'm able to find time in the evenings when my children have gone to bed.  I'll take a couple hours in the evening to relax, watch some TV and code/communicate with the Eclipse Mylyn team.

DZone: Why do you think you should be chosen as Top Contributor?

Frank: This is difficult to answer, perhaps best left to the community.  For the past couple years I've enjoyed contributing my time and code and have participated in discussion where I could.

Benjamin Cabe

DZone: Congratulations on the nomination Benjamin. Could you tell us more about yourself?

Benjamin: I am a software engineer, working in southern France (in Toulouse, “la ville Rose”!). I have a great passion for software development and spend part of my free time taking photos or just hibernating.

DZone: What are the main things that you do within the community?

Benjamin: When I’m not writing patches (PDE, Modeling projects, Platform,…) or triaging bugs, I’m participating in pretty cool posters and shirts contests. I also try to spread the good word about Eclipse giving conferences, writing articles, and so on.

DZone: How long have you been involved with Eclipse?

Benjamin: I’ve been using Eclipse for about two years and a half, and have been involved in the community since then. I’ve been especially contributing to the PDE area, submitting patches and trying to help people on the newsgroups or mailing-lists. I’m also very active within the French Eclipse Community, giving conferences, helping organizing Demo Camps, and blogging – in French, because I believe Eclipse lacks French sources of information.

DZone: Do you have a favourite project within the Eclipse ecosystem?

Benjamin: I love Mylyn. It saves me a huge amount of time when doing bug triaging or attaching patches and contexts to bugs. The second project on my list is Ecore Tools, which is a must-have of my daily job.

DZone: In the Eclipse world, what were your highlights of 2008, and what are you looking forward to in 2009?

Benjamin: The e4 project arrival has been something very exciting, and a very challenging for the community. I’m looking forward to seeing its evolution during 2009. I’m also sort of curious about all this cloud-computing buzz and wondering how Eclipse will jump on the bandwagon.

DZone: What is your full time job?

Benjamin: I’m an Eclipse Expert at Anyware Technologies, working on the creation of integrated solutions based on Eclipse. I’ve a tendency to put models everywhere, and it has proven to be a –very– good thing so far :-). I also have a strong technological monitoring activity.

DZone: What do you like most about contributing to Eclipse?

Benjamin: I do believe that everyone can help, and make Eclipse a better platform. Contributing is as simple as opening a bug or giving a hint on a newsgroup! In a different context, kiva.org is also a great example of this “every single person can do a lot” way of thinking I deeply believe in.
On top of that, digging into the Eclipse code is a great opportunity to learn about some arcane Eclipse mechanisms, and to improve my knowledge of best software development practices in general.

DZone: Is it difficult for you to find the time to contribute to the Eclipse community?

Benjamin: No, not really. If I don’t have time enough because of my projects, I at least try to follow the newsgroups and Bugzilla in a sort of background job :-)

DZone: Why do you think you should be chosen as Top Contributor?

Benjamin: I will of course still be contributing to Eclipse if I’m not elected, but I’d be really happy to see my participation recognized, and be encouraged to continue my efforts! Oh, and by the way, if I’m elected, I’ll start blogging in English! :-)

Dave Carver

DZone: Congratulations on the nomination Dave. Could you tell us more about yourself?

Dave: I'm a "Jack of All Trades" by profession, meaning I'm comfortable on any type of programming project or platform. For the last four years I have been specializing in XML technologies. I'm currently employed at STAR - Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail a B2B data standards organization focusing on the automotive retail, heavy duty truck, power sports, and marine industries. I have presented at the XML 2006 conference on how to apply agile development methodologies like XP and SCRUM to the development of data standards. I'm a Certified Scrum Master, as well as a member of the Agile Alliance and Scrum Alliance.

Outside of work, I'm a USSF State Level soccer referee. Which means much of my time is spent managing 22 players and ball on a soccer field on the weekends from March though December. I also work on several other open source projects, and help maintain the Mylyn-Mantis connector for the eclipse Mylyn plugin. Other hobbies and activities include Water Gardening, and drawing.

DZone: What are the main things that you do within the community?

Dave: I'm primarily focused within the Eclipse community on helping improve and promote the use of XML, as well as an advocate for Agile development practices and Clean Code practices. I'm a member of the eclipse Architecture Council, and maintain a blog called Intellectual Cramps where I share most of my thoughts about the state of XML and it's use with in eclipse. I'm also a member of the Eclipse Web Tools incubator, where I'm helping with XSL Tools, XML Security, and the Visual Editor for XML. Last summer I mentored a student during the Google Summer of Code project as he worked on an XQuery Editor using the eclipse Web Tools Platform. I also help out on the eclipse IRC channel and can be seen in the newsgroups answering questions, particularly in the web tools newsgroup. I also mentor the BPMN Modeling project at eclipse.

DZone: How long have you been involved with Eclipse?

Dave: I've been using eclipse for about 4 years. I introduced eclipse to our organization, and we use it as our primary XML IDE. I started contributing code to eclipse about two years ago, to provide patches for several XML related bugs within web tools. I also helped design and created the XML file format that is used for the eclipse project plan, by designing the XML Schema used for validation, and the XSL Stylesheets that are use to display the plan as HTML.

DZone: Do you have a favourite project within the Eclipse ecosystem?

Dave: Anything XML related. Currently I am focused on the XSL Tools project, but also am looking forward to devoting more time to the Visual Editor for XML which will provide a What you see is what you get editor for a variety of XML file formats. It already supports DocBook, DITA, and XHTML. It was a project that was originally hosted on sourceforge, that I managed to help bring over this last year as an eclipse web tools incubator project.

DZone: In the Eclipse world, what were your highlights of 2008, and what are you looking forward to in 2009?

Dave: In 2008, I would say it was helping to make the XSL Tools project a reality. It is one of the few projects that was started solely by individual committers and not an eclipse strategic member. The project only has 4 committers, two of which are currently active. Its the type of project that shows if there is a will, there is a way.

In 2009, I look forward to the graduation of XSL Tools, and to helping to further foster other XML related projects with in eclipse. Eclipse is an ideal platform for new projects to grow and incubate. I see a bright future in the coming year as XML gets more attention, and I'm hoping to help educate people on how and when to use XML correctly. Sometimes it's used when it should not be used. The correct tooling and frameworks can make XML easier to use correctly instead of being a burden that some view it today.

DZone: What is your full time job?

Dave: I'm a XML Data Architect for STAR. STAR is a non-profit organization working on data standards to help benefit the dealerships. My primary job is working as one of the leads on the DATA workgroup constructing XML Data models to help exchange information like Parts Orders, Repair Orders and other common business processes. My co-worker and I also work directly with other standard organizations like OAGi, AIAG, JAMA, JAPIA, HR-XML and I have participated on some UNCEFACT groups. I also maintain most of our in house applications, which are all open source based.

DZone: What do you like most about contibuting to Eclipse?

Dave: The diversity and the passion that many of the community members have. Particularly the individual committers. In many cases these people are doing this not because they are getting paid by their company to work on eclipse, but because they see the overall benefit to the community. It can be difficult at times working through the amount of process, and it is still too difficult for most non-members to become committers within an eclipse project. However, I enjoy interacting with the community as a whole, and working with them on trying new ways of working. I dislike hearing, "because that is the way it's always been done." That just motivates me to try and show that there is another way it could be done, that might be better.

DZone: Is it difficult for you to find the time to contribute to the Eclipse community?

Dave: I personally do not view it as a matter of time, but more at what is the current priority. There is a balancing act that has to be maintained between work, family, and hobby. If something is important enough to you, you find the time.

DZone: Why do you think you should be chosen as Top Contributor?

Dave: The other nominees are just as deserving of the award. Several have been at this longer and focused more on particular projects. I do not particularly think I'm more deserving. If I had to pick a reason I would fall back to the Jack of All Trades aspect of what I do. I do not focus just on web tools, but I try to focus on how I can contribute to making eclipse better over all. As the person that nominated me said, I "burst onto the scene" and could be found everywhere. I hope I have been able to help improve the overall quality and focus of the XML related tools, and hopefully have brought some attention for the need for applying Clean Code principles to open source projects overall. Everyone of the nominees is deserving of the award, it's too bad that it just has to be one that wins it.

Miles Parker

DZone: Congratulations on the nomination Miles. Could you tell us more about yourself?

Miles: Like a lot of developers in their early forties, I've been writing programs since I was in grade school, before there was a PC. I had to walk two miles through snowdrifts to get to the mini-computer at the library. I've been building Open Source tools for ten years; check out http://ascape.sourceforge.net/ and http://www.metascapeabm.com/

I'm in an interesting position because I bridge two worlds; social science and computer science. Software development skills have allowed me to collaborate on projects and with people that I never would have otherwise -- from archeologists to surgeons to policy wonks.

I recently moved back to the mountains and try to get away from my desk a few times a week to go skiing. And I'm gong to be a new father in March so I'll have less time to write bug reports.

DZone: What are the main things that you do within the community?

Miles: Mostly bitch and moan. Its an important role in any healthy ecosystem.

DZone: How long have you been involved with Eclipse?

Miles: Three or four years. I first got into Eclipse because I was looking for a tool to build some next-generation tools based on DSL and MDSD technologies, and it was the only toolset that offered a functioning and well-thought out approach to that. Since then I've been mostly a tool consumer, but have been drawn more and more into the larger community. Recently, I've decided that Eclipse is the best home for some of the technology that I've been working on, so I'm working on a project proposal and hope to finally offer some actual code to the project.

DZone: Do  you have a favourite project within the Eclipse ecosystem?

Miles: Definitely EMF. It takes a very advanced and initially confounding approach to software development and manages to make it approachable and fun. I won't mention my least...

DZone: In the Eclipse world, what were your highlights of 2008, and what are you looking forward to in 2009?

Miles: Ganymede was a really important release -- it consolidated a lot of pieces that I believe are going to emerge at the core of what Eclipse has to offer. Microsoft isn't even promising anything like the capabilities that EMF, GMF and GMT / oAW are offering today. (Still trying to figure out what Oslo is.) I'm also going to go out on a limb and say that P2 was a critical, if sometimes painful, effort and the end result is looking really good. 64-bit Cocoa has been the sweetest new thing and I've been out a bit far on the bleeding edge with that as the performance and UI are already a huge improvement over Carbon.

I see 2009 as a period of consolidation of gains and housekeeping. I'm hoping for a nice clean integration of all of the model transformation and generation stuff so that all of those mind-blowing tools become a part of the core offering. I look forward to seeing an update mechanism that is robust and flexible, but even more importantly that end-users find transparent and friendly and I think that the p2 UI team have been working really hard to make that happen. And I'm hoping that we will see a nice clean build mechanism that scales from desktop to fully automated builds for update sites and RCP.

There is functionality in Eclipse now to keep us all energized and exploring for years to come. My most frustrating days with Eclipse are the one's when I can't work with the highly-leveraged stuff because I have to do something like try to get a build working, or track down an issue with an Eclipse component that I know nothing about. As the toolset becomes more accessible, more people will begin to realize that Eclipse has much to offer way beyond JDT and I think that's going to generate a lot of new interest and a ton of really amazing, innovative stuff.

DZone: What is your full time job?

Miles: I'm the founder of Metascape LLC. We do Agent-Based Modeling tools and services; modeling social, economic and ecological systems by describing all of the interesting pieces, plugging them together, and pushing the start button. We think our approach can do a better job of representing important aspects of complex systems -- for example, financial market risk -- then the current models do, though admittedly that's setting the bar a bit low!

DZone: What do you like most about contibuting to Eclipse?

Miles: That I can point out something that is broken and have a fixed version on my desktop in two weeks for free. That beats a two year wait and thousands of dollars for Visual Studio!

But its more about what ends up in front of my end-users. I'm the only developer working on my toolset but I have the entire Eclipse infrastructure behind it. Perhaps something is confusing or could work better. Perhaps the user clicks a button and something magical happens. It doesn't matter wether it is a component of my software or of Eclipse -- it is still part of the user's experience. They really don't  care who wrote it. So the way I see it, when I write a bug report or a feature request and someone else submits code to fix it, they're contributing to my project. Its nice having all of these IBM developers working for me.

DZone: Is it difficult for you to find the time to contribute to the Eclipse community?

Miles: Its actually difficult for me to not find time to contribute. I think most of us have experienced falling down the rabbit hole of verifying a bug, spending time grokking it, reporting it, and then following the resulting thread. I have to police myself, but it is a more than a fair trade in the end.

DZone: Why do you think you should be chosen as Top Contributor?

I'm not sure that I should! Reading over the nominations, I was struck by how much time and effort the other nominees have put into Eclipse over many years. I do like the idea of recognizing people who don't necessarily contribute code as I think it supports the idea that everyone can contribute in a meaningful way but I'm not the only pesn who does this. My income comes through project consulting work so I don't get paid for this, but that is also true for many other contributors. Honestly, it was really gratified just to be nominated.

Tom Schindl

DZone: Could you tell us more about yourself?

Tom: It is a great honor being nominated. My name is Tom Schindl and I'm one of the founders of BestSolution.at Systemhaus GmbH, an innovative company located in Western Austria providing consulting services and business solutions on top of the Java platform ranging from Eclipse RCP to Web 2.0 applications developed with GWT.

DZone: What are the main things that you do within the community?
On a daily basis I answer questions on the newsgroup, helping people to get started with different Eclipse technologies that I'm familiar with:

  • platform-rcp: ~210 posts
  • platform-swt: ~490 posts
  • platform-ui: ~330 posts
  • platform-emf: ~160 posts
  • technology-nebula: ~ 80 posts

Also, to help people get started more easily in future, I create snippets from the most frequently asked questions, compiling a JFace-Snippets collection.

In addition to answering newsgroup questions, I blog to describe my explorations of various Eclipse technologies as well as to highlight interesting Eclipse developments such as E4.

On a conference basis, I give talks at conferences like EclipseCon and Eclipse Summit Europe where I show what is available and how to wire it all together. For this purpose I create useful example applications that people can use to get started with the various technologies.

It's important to address the lack of documentation that is available because I have found that people often don't know what's already available; they simply need to see some code that wires everything together. One of those applications is the one I wrote for my Datacentric Application talk at ESE; many people use it to get started with CDO and EMF-Databinding and to present those technologies to their customers.

On a project basis I try to make Eclipse projects interesting for other developers ranging from Swing to GWT. That's why I started the UFaceKit project which provides Eclipse databinding observables for different UI platforms such as Swing, QT, and GWT. This can help projects like EMF (CDO, Teneo,...) to gain even more momentum outside of Eclipse development.

DZone: How long have you been involved with Eclipse?

Tom:I started using Eclipse with version 3.1, started contributing with 3.2, and became a committer for platform UI with version 3.3. Since then I became a committer for Nebula, which I now co-lead with Chris Gross.

DZone: Do you have a favourite project within the Eclipse ecosystem?

Tom: Yes I have multiple projects that are all equally my favorite!


Naturally I'm really proud of the UFaceKit project that I'm leading and the people that helped to make it happen. UFaceKit provides many interesting features starting from Declarative Styling(aka CSS) to support for different UI technologies (like QT).

Eclipse Databinding:

Helping Eclipse Databinding improve and become mainstream by working with passionate people like Boris Bokowski and Matt Hall is simply fun.

DZone: In the Eclipse world, what were your highlights of 2008, and what are you looking forward to in 2009?

Tom:First the best things about 2008.One of the coolest things this year was to learn about CDO and the solutions it provides for the applications I have to write in my day job. Besides providing me the possibility to transfer EMF-Objects over the wire without any interaction from my side, CDO provides me with a scalable solution when my model graphs become big and also solves many of the concurrency problems I face.

The best things about 2009 - E4,The next generation of the Eclipse Platform is a place where a lot innovation happens. Starting from the modeled workbench (the team I'm part of) to Declarative UI and a Flexible Resource Framework there are many different interesting things happening in e4. I decided to be part of e4 after EclipseCon 2008 and wrote the first EMF-based prototype for the Modeled Workbench. Being part of this effort is one of the greatest things! I think after EclipseCon 2009 the community is going to be amazed by the new design and the work that's been done by the e4 team.

With UFaceKit, I'm looking forward to shipping a first release of UFaceKit providing support for 4 different UI technologies: SWT, Swing, QT and GWT. I will include declarative styling (aka CSS) and declarative UI support using EMF. Hopefully it will attract new committers for other platforms such as Android and draw2d and even GEF3D and OpenGL to build a growing community around it.

DZone: What is your full time job?

Tom: My day job is leading a small software company which develops Java applications on top of the Eclipse technologies like RCP and EMF. We are also providing consulting services to introduce those Eclipse technologies in other companies and have lately started using GWT to provide Web 2.0 solutions and support for our customers.

DZone: Is it difficult for you to find the time to contribute to the Eclipse community?

Contributing to projects happens after my day job is finished. I got nominated here because of my work on the E4 EMF workbench model (I wrote the first prototype used to develop the current model code) which was a lot of work.

Tom:I spent the evenings of one month to provide a prototype implementation for the E4-Summit where the final decision for the workbench model implementation was made. It really paid of and the Eclipse-Community profits from this work when E4 is their Development and Application platform because it makes their life easier and provides them with a clean and stable application model.

DZone: Why do you think you should be chosen as Top Contributor?

Tom:I think I should be chosen because I'm the contributor whose contribution has a direct impact on the future of Eclipse-Platform.

Now that you've met each of the nominees, it's time to make the tough decision and vote for the person that you believe deserves to be this year's Top Contributor. Voting closes on February 27th. Tomorrow, in the final set of interviews, we will meet the top committers.

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