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EclipseCon 2012 Day 1

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Today marks the start of EclipseCon’s sessions, with ‘Day 0’ being yesterday’s tutorials and awards ceremony. Speaking of which, congratulations to this year’s award winners:

After the opening keynote on the future of the web, there’s a whole lot of good sessions for today’s presentation. If you’re into OSGi, then there’s a must-see presentation on what’s new in OSGi 5.0, particularly what makes it sufficiently different to merit the bump in the major number. Generics are everywhere, the Java ServiceLoader class has been integrated and the ‘subsystem/application specification’ (formerly nested frameworks) is finally here. And speaking of specifications which you never thought you’d see, the OBR has finally arrived after being in draft proposal for the last decade. (The drafts have now been published by the OSGi Alliance for both the OSGi Core 5.0 and OSGi Enterprise 5.0 specifications. See my post on InfoQ for more information as to what’s new.)

There’s also a couple of real-world stories for OSGi use cases, such as Moving to Guidewire platform to OSGi and liberate your components on the benefits of OSGi services. There’s even an OSGi on Rails talk, though note this is actually rails, since it’s about the Swiss railway system’s use of OSGi and not a Ruby-inspired web framework.

Back in the Eclipse world, today also covers the Eclipse 4 Application Platform, which is going to be the basis of this year’s Eclipse Juno release. Although there will be an Eclipse 3.8 platform, the EPP packaging downloads will all be based on Eclipse 4.2, so if you are shipping an Eclipse-based application then now is the time to start testing your app against the new platform. (Actually, it’s not that new, with 4.2 being the third release of the Eclipse 4 platform – but now at a stage where it is ready to replace the Eclipse 3.x infrastructure.) Since E4 uses CSS to perform its styling, there’s a presentation on CSS for E4 later on today as well, which if you don’t know the platform is worthwhile to attend.

There’s a couple of talks on build systems; JBoss' experience with Tycho, a Maven-based replacement for Eclipse’s PDE build, and a look at M2Eclipse, the IDE plugin for Maven projects written by the Maven developers.

My final slice through today’s EclipseCon schedule is on Xtext, a custom DSL solution for Java applications. Xtext allows the grammar of a language to be defined, followed by the creation of custom Eclipse editors that allow the editing of those files. There’s more information on Xtend on the last day of the conference, but today’s highlights include Domain Specific Languages, which introduces the ‘sweet spot’ for DSLs in existing systems, an Xtext success story at Google (for creating custom editors for Protocol Buffers) and the Deasagn engineering language.

Finally, last November was Eclipse’s 10th birthday, a subject I have written about before as well as covering the regular release schedule. John Arthorne, one of the Eclipse platform’s progenitors, has a talk on Eclipse Greatest Hits in which he’ll look back over the past decade and explain how some of the decisions ten years ago still apply to the speed and efficiency of the platform today.

Don’t forget, the BoFs start at 7pm – check local signage for where they are being held. Often, the key takeaway from conferences doesn’t come from the presentations (excellent though they are) – it’s who you meet and talk to. The BoFs are the place to do that; for example, Git at Eclipse started off life as a BoF back in 2009 which I was part of and wrote up at the time. And less than three years later, we now have a fine Git tool in Eclipse and over 50% Git repositories in use, with more still to come.