Jazoon 2011, Day 1 – Eclipse Mylyn: Redefining the “I” of the IDE – Benjamin Muskalla

26. June, 2011

Eclipse Mylyn: Redefining the “I” of the IDE – Benjamin Muskalla

Mylyn is one of those things that can change your world if you just give it a chance. The talk emphasized one of the major points: We write the code in an IDE (integrated, not intelligent), we track bugs in a bug tracker, we communicate with email, twitter and Facebook and we track progress on a piece of paper.

Being able to save the context (i.e. the classes and files involved) in a bug, so, say, a junior doesn’t have to wade through the whole source to even get started, is something that I’ve been missing several times already. If only I wasn’t such an old dog, already.


New Approach to Documentation

15. May, 2011

Documentation usually has these three attributes: It’s incomplete, outdated and plain wrong.

That doesn’t apply to every bit of information in your documentation but it you can be sure the statement above is correct for the whole documentation.

As a consumer of such documents, it’s a nice puzzler to determine into which of the three categories a bit of information belongs.

This leads to the common “we hate documentation” stance that all software developers soon adopt, no matter if they have to write/maintain the documentation or if they have to use it.

As we all know, the only reliable source of documentation are unit tests. But they can still be incomplete (= missing the example you need) or outdated (= missing examples for the latest API).

The solution? Generate documentation from the source code. And I don’t mean “from javadoc in the source code”, I mean literally from the code. If a method is used in a certain way in 317 places in your code and once in a different way, then you have two examples. One of them probably works, the other is probably documents a bug which your tests missed.

Eclipse is starting to get support for this. The first step was code completion. Now we have a couple of guys working on Eclipse Code Recommenders.

This summer, Stefan Henß starts to work on an “extended documentation platform” for Eclipse.

TNBT: JetBrains’ MPS

10. March, 2011

Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of IntelliJ IDEA.

In the past, I’ve always had an eye for people who replaced the ASCII text editor with something … better. Imagine you could use a table to define your constants in Java. And with table, I mean “Excel” not “align-with-space-until-it-you-go-insane.”

JetBrains is working on this: Table support in MPS 2.0

Let me make this clear: A DSL is nice. But there are so many things that you simply can’t express well with text. State machines. Repeated code. Sometimes, you don’t need the exact words to convey the idea.

I think I’ll waste some time with MPS 2.0 M3 next weekend. There are a couple of tutorials and demos.

Related Articles:

  • The Next Best Thing – Series in my blog where I dream about the future of software development

Distributed editing

23. November, 2010

Among other things, version control systems were invented to allow several people to work on the same code. But there is another option: Distributed editing. Everyone works on the same code at the same time and all changes are sent to all involved users at the same time.

Welcome Saros – Distributed Collaborative Editing and Distributed Party Programming

Google Relaunches Instantiations Developer Tools

29. September, 2010
Google Web Toolkit

Image via Wikipedia

From the website:

In early August, Google acquired Instantiations, a company known for its focus on Eclipse Java developer tools, including GWT Designer. We’re happy to announce today that we’re relaunching the following former Instantiations products under the Google name and making them available to all developers at no charge:

  • GWT Designer
    Powerful Eclipse-based development tools that enable Java developers to quickly create Ajax user interfaces using Google Web Toolkit (GWT)
  • CodePro AnalytiX
    Comprehensive automated software code quality and security analysis tools to improve software quality, reliability, and maintainability
  • WindowBuilder Pro
    Java graphical user interface designer for Swing, SWT, GWT, RCP, and XWT UI frameworks
  • WindowTester Pro
    Test GUI interactions within Java client rich applications for the SWT and Swing UI frameworks

I played a bit with CodePro. The tools look promising even through there were some glitches, namely:

  1. The JUnit editor looks cool but the table with the current unit results often hangs.
  2. It was more complicated than I liked to generate test cases
  3. I couldn’t get the code coverage tool to work
  4. The dependency works but didn’t play with it long enough to say for sure how useful it is
  5. The code analysis shows a lot of numbers but the workflow is clumsy. For example, it says that something has a cyclomatic complexity of 16 but I couldn’t find out what and where.