QCon 2008 session: Erich Gamma on Eclipse

I was really looking forward to hearing Erich talk - he’s one of those names that’s been thereabouts in the Java space for a long time and has done a lot of widely appreciated work. I ended up disappointed though. It was interesting to hear about how the Eclipse development team was organised, but his presentation was vague and lacked focus. Where it picked up though was when he started talking about his latest project, Jazz. Now, ignore the silly name1, and it looks like a seriously interesting bit of software for helping keep track of a development team’s processes. The nice example he demoed was adding a new member to the team. From the “welcome” email, Jazz appeared to set up that user’s svn account and also grant them read-only access to the repository. When the new developer attempts to commit, his changes aren’t sent to the repository, but are sent via a workflow to other members of the team to audit his change. The process didn’t seem quite as slick as that - you had to do something like ‘send’ changes in to the workflow rather than it being fired directly by, say, subversion’s pre-commit hook mechanism, but I like the idea. It looks doubly interesting when your dev team is as distributed as Erich’s. I’d be interested for my team because I find it hard enough to keep track of what people are doing on the next desk, nevermind on the next continent. Throughout Erich’s talk, though, I couldn’t help thinking about all of my issues with Eclipse. Yes, I think it’s about the best open source Java IDE out there, but it still has clunking usability problems and the combination of plugins required for useful web development is still far too fragile. Are there any Eclipse users out there who haven’t had Eclipse just stop working and require a clean install to get it working again?

[1] and it is an insultingly stupid one - it makes me cringe. See the dumb marketing intro for yourself:

Developing software in a team is much like playing an instrument in a band. Both require a balance of collaboration and virtuosity. Jazz defines a vision for the way products can integrate to support this kind of collaborative work, and a technology platform to deliver on this vision.

Who the hell comes up with this stuff?

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