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You’ve definitely heard about Xtext, the famous text modeling framework, community award winner . We are all looking forward to the new project management wonder: the release of Helios, upcoming on June the 23rd, which will include Xtext 1.0.0. In this article, I want do describe some aspects of integration of Xtext-based languages into IDE. continue reading…

Abstract

About two years ago, I published an article about Exposing the Functionality implemented in Stateless Session Beans (EJB 2.1) using Web Services. J2EE 1.4 times are over and the new version of the Java Enterprise framework, called Java Enterprise Edition 5 (JavaEE 5, or simply JEE) has emerged. In this article the same business scenario is repeated in the new framework.

Requirements

Before we dive into code examples, some software is required. The good news about the software is, that it also evolved over time. Here is what we use:

  • Sun’s Java 6 SDK
  • JBoss AS 5.1.0 GA for JDK6
  • Eclipse Galileo 3.5.1 for JEE development

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EclipseDemoCamp An event of annual series of Eclipse Demo Camps is taking place in Hamburg again. The event was planned in November, but takes actually place in December. As usually Peter and Martinare responsible for the organization. To make it short:

If you want to attend, make sure you find a minute to write you name down in EclipseWiki. I suppose these kind of events is well-known. If you never heard of that – look at the interesting topics and the attendee list of more than one hundred people. You will have the opportunity to listen to the talks, to speak with interesting people and get some news from Eclipse Commiters and Users. In the end you usually get some food and bevereges, to make the atmosphere a little more relaxed. If you never been there it is worth to visit…

Even if some time has passed since the events EWiTa 2009 and Eclipse Summit Europe 2009, I would like to share my impressions, since I took part in both events…

EWiTa 2009

_MG_9975 EWiTa 2009 stands for Elmshorner Wirtschaftsinfromatiktag, that is German for “Elmshorn Business Information Systems Day”. The event has been organized by Frank Zimmermann, of Nordakademie – a private university in Northern Germany. Even if the event is not an official sequel of the MDSD Today, there were many similarities. The event had two tracks: the process modeling track and the MDSD track. After an excellent keynote from Mathias Weske about the importance of collaboration during the process of (business) modeling I stayed in the business track to listen to the Andrea Grass ( oose GmbH) on the combination of UML and BPMN 2.0. To say the truth, I’m not a big fan of this approach, especially, because the conceptual mismatch of modeling of business behavior and technical behavior. After a coffee break I enjoyed an excellent talk of itemis), reporting about the success story of xText in a big project of Deutsche Börse AG (German Stock Exchange).

After a small lunch, I was listening to two Arcando consultants reporting about their eTicketing project. The strange thing about this talk was that they just made some ads on a standard Microsoft product. After this, I enjoyed an interesting talk on business modeling based on CobIT process. Finally, I switched the track again to MDSD and listend to the an interesting usage of MDSD techniques for generation of DynPro and ABAP code. simon.zambrovski - View my 'EWiTa 2009' set on Flickriver

In general I enjoyed the event. I think the MDSD track was a little more technical, but the combination was good.

Eclipse Summit Europe 2009

_MG_0117The Eclipse Summit Europe 2009 (ESE 2009) took place on October 27-29 in Ludwigsburg, Germany, it is the European complement to the EclipseCon in the US. In contrast to the spring event in Santa Clara, CA, the ESE is an autumn event in a beautiful baroque town near Stuttgart. The event lasted three days and is a must for Eclipse-related technology people. As usual, the venue was great, the keynotes excellent and the talks interesting. And of course it was the place to meet the committers, evangelists, see them in action, talk to them and discuss the future directions.

Symposium Day

The first day is an arrival day. People arrive during the day, some of them are already there. I was visiting the Modeling Track the whole day and had much fun with Ed Merks, Eike Stepper and Thomas Schindl in the morning. Later, in the Modeling Symposium, Eike showed the eDine RCP based on CDO, UBS envisioned the modeling tool pipeline and so on, and so on. About 10 people showed different technologies on and about modeling. Intersting, unstructured and relaxed. And of course, the first evening is the opportunity to speak with all the Eclipse VIPs and drink a cold beer.

First Day

The main conference day was Wednesday and it started with a great keynote on functional programming held by Don Syme, the father of F#. Suprisingly, the talk was about F#. For some of us, there was not enough functional beauty exposed in the talk, so I scheduled a private session with Don and he told Markus Voelter, Heiko Behrens and me about some interesting F# features._MG_0090

I took part in the How about I/O session on JPicus. A very interesting tool for tracking I/O problems in Java programs developed by SAP. The Climb The Tower of Babel was about the Eclipse translation project. Intersting is the runtime editor allowing you to translate you runnig application. After a delicios lunch, I enjoyed two modeling talks: Xtext and EMF Query. The itemis team introduced some really new features, which make Xtext in my oppinion to a unique technology. Just to mention few of them: white-space aware parsing, usage of scopes and qualified names, usage of index (construted by a builder) in your own language, separation of markers and annotations in the editor, integration of the generator on-save, declarative quick-fix in your DSL, strings with special meaning, references to java types, and much more… The EMF Query is a project developed by the SAP team, that leverages the index by a query language. The language is a SQL-like DSL for querying the EMF-based models. The infrastructure is very intersting and allows complex scenarios with multiple model providers – very technical, and I believe, very interesting project.

Second Day

_MG_0171
After the keynote on the importance of software ecosystems and a deep economical analysis of Eclipse ecosystem, I switched off the track to be able to prepare my talk. I was reporting about the IDE for TLA+ which I was building the last nine month at Microsoft Research, and which will be available soon. The main emphasis of the talk, was not the demo of the IDE, but the exchange of experiences on building one. Especially, I focused on the possible pitfalls and conceptual mismatches of IDEs depending on the integrated language. The slides will be available soon.

At the end, I enjoyed the event very much. I even liked it more than EclipseCon. Modeling still seems to be the most interesting part of Eclipse ecosystem. Technologies like Xtext and CDO gain maturity, new technolgoes like EMF Query are being developed. It was nice to see the people again… As usual, some pictures:
simon.zambrovski - View my 'Eclipse Summit Europe 2009' set on Flickriver

Abstract

compass After providing the basic example of how the Eclipse Common Navigator Framework (CNF) can be used to display custom content, this article focuses on the main feature of the CNF – the contribution of content to the same navigator by several independent plug-ins. First of all, I will explain some minor changes introduced to the CNF in the Gallileo Edition, then I will focus on the content itself and finally provide an overview of how the action contributions can be provided. In the end of the post, some ideas on control of dynamic content are explained.

Gallileo Changes

There are two noticeable changes in the CNF that have been added with Eclipse Galileo. The return type of the method continue reading…

Abstract

Passing Data between Plug-ins
The Eclipse Platform provides a very rich API for the development and configuration of plug-ins and RCPs. It does this in two ways: by providing the corresponding classes and interfaces or by using the extension point mechanism. During the development the question arises, how to develop own extension points and how those plug-in interfaces look like. This article summarizes some of my experiences with developing plug-ins extension points.

Introduction

The extensive use of extension points is the standard approach during the development of own plug-ins and Eclipse-based applications. Especially, in the 3.x branch, the Eclipse Developers introduced tons of new extension points, primarily for the user interface, moving towards the declarative definition of the UI. Even if the the topic of the definition of extension points is covered in several books and articles, it is a bit challenging to come up with a clean extension point design for a particular scenarios, especially for beginners. This has to do with the specific way, how the Eclipse platform handles extensions.

In order to have a concrete scenario, lets assume that a small RCP application consisting of two plug-ins is being developed. The application prints out the time every ten seconds. One plug-in is responsible for the functionality of the time generation (lets call it the Core plug-in) and another, for the presentation of the results of the first one (lets call it UI plug-in). The separation of code in UI and non-UI plug-ins is a common practice and the standard question is, how to to pass data between the two. In general we assume, that the UI plug-in depends on the Core plug-in.
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Packaging

Abstract

Using Eclipse-based rich-clients as stand-alone applications is discussed in many books and articles. In the context of enterprise systems, the software development adopted several paradigms to improve the quality of the overall architecture. This short article describes some issues in packaging the application for using it in the context of enterprise systems.

Architectural Assumptions

Designing enterprise architectures is a standard discipline for IT-consulting companies or freelancers involved in software development. Maybe one of the main characteristics of enterprise architectures is the framework-driven approach of software creation. Thus, the software has to comply certain rules and standards adopted inside the enterprise. In order to simplify such constrained development process, it is common to use an in-house software framework, which enforces the  compliance of the enterprise-internal standards and acts as glue between different technologies adopted as parts of the enterprise architecture.

Using such frameworks has major implications for the software development in general, and especially for the rich client development. The design issues are summarized in the next section.

Usaging an Enterprise Framework

The major goal of the enterprise in-house framework is to simplify the process of software systems development and to enforce standardization among the software systems. This usually includes the following aspects:

  • Domain-specific component framework
  • Methods for master data management
  • Infrastructure services: authentication, authorization, communication, security, printing, reporting
  • Application skeletons and launchers

The more unification and standardization is included inside the framework, the easier it is for a software developer to concentrate on the particular business task and the easier is the maintenance of the software system.

From the previous list, the most interesting part related to RCP packaging and deployment is the existence of the application skeletons and launchers. So, when launching an application, the framework libraries are loaded and executed first and pass the control to the application-specific modules. The advantage of this approach is that infrastructure services can be loaded first, which can be developed and shared among different applications.
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