Achievement Unlocked: EclipseCon Speaker

So it’s finally done!
I gave a talk about Eclipse RCP in our Form-based application last Friday (04-11-2011): Tickling the shoulders of giants.
I was awfully nervous, but after all it was a great experience and everything went pretty well.
Considering the time of the talk (Last day of the conference, right after lunch), there were quite some attendees. Though the 30-40 people appeared rather lost to me in this quite large venue (130+ seats). ;)

I cannot remember that much of the actual talk, it kinda just happenend in a trance-like state.
I finished it a 1 or 2 minutes ealier than estimated, I wonder what I’ve forgotten to say ;).
Some quick questions answered and it was done.
The people I talked to afterwards seem to have liked it.

The slides are available via slideshare.

You can download them here aswell.
The slides and my talking were recorded and I’m really looking forward to see this recording.


The recording can be viewed here.

Or here:


Looking forward to the next talk.

EclipseCon 2011 Session proposed

I managed to propose a session for the EclipseCon 2011 conference the last minute.
The talk will deal with ouir experiences while implementing a Rich Client based on Eclipse RCP.
The decision if it will accepted is announced on September, 1st. So keep your fingers crossed. I am excited already! And a little nervous ;-)
Here is a link to the proposal.

Eclipse RCP: What to do when things don’t work on your colleague’s machine

I have compiled a list of potential pitfalls, that one might step in when executing code on another system:

  • Check your IDs
  • Check them again
  • Does your product contain all nessesary Plugins/Features
  • Does your run-configuration (the one generated by selecting Run on your product) contain all your plugins? Did you press Add required plugins
  • If you use features, check them! Are all plugins present?
  • Help system: If your help system does not show: Double check that the Plugin-Editor did not swallow your context definitions. They are often gone if I simply open the editor. Topics do not disappear…
  • Check if all help system dependencies are present in your run-configuration. Start by adding all *help*-plugins, continue with *jetty* and *servlet*. Then press Add required plugins. That should do the trick.
  • If you know of any other helpful tricks, please let me know!

Eclipse RCP: The dreaded Plugin ID

Hi all!

Apologies for not updating this blog lately.

As I want to talk a little bit about my experiences with Eclipse RCP, I think it is suitable if I tried to write in english. Perhaps this can be helpful for non-german speakers aswell, as information/documentation about E-RCP is a little sparse.

So… lately I had the chance to be a part of a Eclipse RCP project, which I greatly looked forward to! As I took a deep-dive into the concepts, I noticed that things work very differently compared to web-applications or even Swing applications.

In case you are interested, I mostly refered to 2 books, namely

Additionally there is one blog by a guy called Lars Vogel, which I appreciate very much! Thanks for the great effort Lars!

By now, our project has produced a niffty little prototype of the soon-to-be greatest RCP-application. Though none of our design decisions are written in stone yet (e.g. I am not sure whether we should use editors for our inputs or just views), I think/hope I have more or less understood the framework.

But there is at least one thing, that bothers me time and time again:

The ubiquitous Plugin ID. I cannot complain much about the basic concept: Of course a plugin has to have an unique identifier, and when you refer to a specific plugin, you have to use this Plugin ID. But again and again I have spent ages looking for some error/non-functional bits while finally noticing that I used the wrong ID.

So I could just end up blaming me. What I am missing though is some kind of assistance from the framework itself, saying „Man! You are looking for a plugin named, but I only know the following plugins:“ I think that would save us a lot of time.

Lately I was implementing context-sensitive help. But I could not figure out, why hitting f1 on a text field did not do anything. This blog then showed me, where to place a proper breakpoint to take a peek into the help-listener. It showed that the context-arrays where simply empty. So no context help could be seen. At least I saw that the keybinding worked. After debugging a few hours I was basically stuck. I made a few steps back and made a small sample project. At first I experienced the same issues… is Ganymede broken? I then realized that I did not provide the Plugin ID but the package name (which had a different case). I changed cases and voila it worked. Again I debugged to the help-listener and behold: The context array had one element.

What I am asking myself right now is: Why doesn’t Eclipse tell me that it does not register my context (or puts it somewhere only it knows). Life would be easier! :) It is seldom obvious to me what happens internally, when Eclipse executes a specific functionallity. At least I need an easier way to find places to debug to.

Perhaps I’m just missing some point…

Until then I only can repeat what the aforementioned books told me before:

BE  VERY CAREFULL WHEN YOU USE PLUGIN-IDS as there is no safety net!