Kim Horne, who gave a nice presentation on “Addressing UI Scalability in Eclipse” at EclipseCon 2005, has just started an Eclipse-focused blog, titled Kim’s Eclipse Musings. I enjoyed the session quite a bit due to her sense of humor. She demoed how you can, using one perspective and the Activities API, create two versions of a rich client app on RCP, effectively implementing role-based access. The first role was the “peon” who was told to work harder and the next role was the manager, kinda like a Dilbert RCP app. BTW she stressed that doing so does not constitute real security, but it is a useful API nonetheless and an interesting demo. And no, nobody threw food at her for suggesting it. :)
Check out the session slides in PDF, which explains the API (actually 2 APIs: Activities and Contexts) and gives good examples. An interesting thing to note is that it enables progressive disclosure, which is a fancy UX (User Experience) word which means that you hide parts of the UI until the user needs them. So, for example, you can hide an entire tool (say the JDT) until the user asks to create a Java class.
Anyway, back to Kim. She’s the first Eclipse Committer that I know of that has a blog. She is on the Platform team, I think focusing on the UI. Right now, she’s blogging about Content Type Based Editor Lookup, which in plain English means how to decide which editor to open up based on what’s in a file, instead of just look at its extension, which is what the current framework gives you. I didn’t know anyone was working on this until now, so its good to hear that she is. I’ll probably use this API when it becomes available.
To top it all off, Kim is also a fellow Eclipse on Mac user. Yes! She seems to have switched just this month, with a trifecta of PowerBook, Mac Mini, and iPod Shuffle. Maybe Apple will feature her in a future Switcher Ad? :)
Speaking of Mini, I got a phone survey asking about my Mac Mini experience and it was the most enjoyable survey I’ve ever given. Hopefully my input will help Apple decide to increase the base memory in a Mini to 512MB, which I think would be better for most users. My kids are OK with 256MB, but I’m sure there will come a day when I break out a putty knife and stuff in a 1GB stick.