Memories of EclipseCon 2003

I was at EclipseCon 2003. What’s that you say? The first EclipseCon was EclipseCon 2004? I beg to differ.

I would say the first EclipseCon was the “Eclipse event at JavaOne 2003“, back on June 11th, 2003.

I didn’t have a blog back then, but if I did, I think this is what I would have written once I got back to my hotel room…

June 11, 2003

Just got back from the Eclipse BOF. It was a little hard to find, since it was not on the grounds of JavaOne, but in a hotel nearby. There were probably around 50 people there.

I got a free Eclipse cap. :)

I saw Erich Gamma, Mr. Design Patterns himself, and he showed off some interesting features in the new version of Eclipse, like the hot code replace which lets you change code while debugging. He demoed it by running JHotDraw and changing its look and feel while running.

The guys from SAP talked about their experiences with developing on top of Eclipse as a platform. They did a demo which wen much better than the one that kind of crashed and burned during a keynote. I can sympathize with the guy.

It seems like they had TogetherSoft port Together/J or at least the underlying libraries to SWT for use in NetWeaver. They’re considering giving some of that back to open source. That would be cool. [Note from the present: I don’t think any of that has become open source. TogetherSoft has now been fully integrated into Borland, which seems committed to Swing, although there is a Together Edition for Eclipse which I haven’t evaluated yet.]

There was a question and answer session, which was interesting. I asked a question about how JSR 198 would affect Eclipse. JSR 198 is the holy grail of tool plug-in interoperability, which if fully realized, could let you write a plug-in for NetBeans and run it in Eclipse or JBuilder or whatever other IDE that is JSR 198 compliant. The answer was that the Eclipse team is on the committee, as is Oracle, which also happens to be on the Eclipse Board, and both will work to help implement JSR 198, but it shouldn’t impact Eclipse in a negative way. [Note: Not sure what is the status of JSR 198. Anyone have any insight?]

After the Q&A, they had a random drawing of everyone who submitted answers and I won a book: The Java Developer’s Guide to Eclipse. I even got it signed by one of the authors, Jim D’Anjou, who was there. [Note: This book has been invaluable in my Eclipse endeavors. I highly recommend it, but make sure to get the 2nd version, which has been updated for Eclipse 3.0.]

I got a chance to talk to some folks. I had a good chat with Steve Northover of the SWT Team. We talked a bit about an old OTI product, ENVY, which I had used and enjoyed back when I programmed in Smalltalk. It was nice to see that the Smalltalk community was full force into Java and that the OTI folks (who form the backbone of the Eclipse Team) are helping lead the way, especially since they’ve done such good work before.

I grilled Steve a bit about SWT, since I’m a big fan of Swing which I’ve mastered over the past few years. He explained that it was a pragmatic decision of IBM back when it was developing WSAD, since at the time Swing/AWT just was not performing well. Later on, it seems that he explained that Swing / SWT interoperability was quite feasible. [Note: It does work on Windows and Linux now, but not yet on Mac OS X. If you like this blog, perhaps you could do me a favor and vote for this bug entry? :)]

The posters were interesting, kind of like a science fair focused on Eclipse. I talked to the fellow behind the JBossIDE. I also was intrigued by the Draw2D and GEF poster, though I couldn’t quite figure out how it relates to Java2D. I’ll have to look more into this. [Note: GEF and Draw2D are great. They probably should be included in the main download, along with EMF and XSD.]

Epilogue: Later on, I went to a BOF about Building a Wizard Framework in Swing. The fellow from HP who presented noted that he didn’t use the framework anymore because now they are developing in Eclipse, which provides a nice wizard framework. That was a good early illustration of why it wasn’t just a choice between JFace/SWT and Swing/AWT, but that there were lots of frameworks that Eclipse provides for Tool Developers.

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