Mylyn Expands

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Mylyn Expands

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Today, the Eclipse Mylyn project is announcing a major restructuring with the creation of several different sub-projects for each key Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) category.  DZone spoke with Mik Kersten, the founder of the Mylyn project and CEO of Tasktop Technologies, about the details, the causes, and the benefits of the project's reconfiguration.  Kersten explains that the single project structure was getting overcrowded and inappropriate with the multitude of integrations and different areas of focus.  "We needed to address the rapid growth of our ecosystem," said Kersten in reference to Mylyn.  There are currently areas such as Software Configuration Management (SCM) and Code Review that project committers want to focus on and expand, but under the former model, Mylyn was struggling to achieve its full potential. 

The New Mylyn Project Structure:

Tasks:  Bugzilla, Trac, JIRA, OSLC
Tasks have always been at the core of the Mylyn project.  This sub-project will include change management tools that perform agile management and issue tracking.  The Tasks sub-project will provide the hub for Mylyn's task focused interface. 

Context:  Java, Spring, C/C++, PHP
This sub-project will provide developer monitoring and focusing of the workspace to reduce information overflow.  One-click multi-tasking for developers is another important aspect of this sub-project.  

SCM: CVS, Subversion, Git (coming soon), OSLC
The project committers are adamant about expanding the project's SCM capabilities.  Mylyn connects SCM systems to the developer productivity interface and the task management system.  This includes the ability to manage changesets.  

Build:  Bamboo, Hudson (coming soon), Maven (coming soon) OSLC
This sub-project includes build and release management along with continuous integration.  Optimizing this step in the application lifecycle is becoming increasingly valuable.

Review:  Cross-repository
There aren't very many code review functionalities in Mylyn right now and the project committers plan to change this.  This sub-project was formed in preparation for the future integration of more code review tools.  

Docs:  WikiText, RichText
Finally, the Docs sub-project will host successful tools such a s WikiText.  These tools are used to generate and alter documentation or collaborate around tasks.

The new structure makes each sub-project independently usable.  An organization can take any category of Mylyn tools (e.g. SCM, Code Review) and plug them in to their own ALM tool array.  Another announcement along with the restructuring plans is Mylyn's adoption of the OSLC (Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration) web service standard for ALM tool interoperability.  As an example, Kersten says, "You'll always be able to submit a defect from some stack trace you see in Eclipse to an OSLC server without having a custom Mylyn integration."

Mylyn Interface

Kersten says the division of leadership for each sub-project will allow the Mylyn project to function much more efficiently and increase its diversity.  He explains an example: "By giving Perforce leadership on the SCM sub-project, we actually increase the diversity of the project and help them drive something that's very core to their business, which is the support for integrating their SCM tools with Eclipse." Perforce will help the SCM sub-project grow so that the Mylyn project can add new features and new levels of automation that the community has been requesting.  For example, many community members have requested a feature that allows them to reprovision their workspace with updated versions of the source code.  They also want better linking between Mylyn's task editor and changesets.  

CloudSmith, a company that has made plenty of build technologies for Eclipse, will be a key contributor for the Build sub-project.  Code review will be supported with only a compatible SCM and task repository - you don't need a  third server repository. For example if you have ClearCase and Perforce or Trac and Subversion, the code review functionality works.

Kersten says that frameworks like Mylyn need to be open source because that is the only way to get new integrations implemented very quickly.  The contributions of the Mylyn open source community have also been vital to the project's success.  1/7th of the changes in Mylyn have come from contributions beyond the project's committers.  Kersten says he will remain the leader of the Mylyn umbrella.

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