EclipseCon Europe Hackathon

I am excited to be helping organize a Hackathon to be held next week in Ludwigsburg. All EclipseCon Europe attendees are welcome to attend. After a few drinks at the Stammtisch and a visit to the EclipseCon Circus, what better way to finish off your evening than hacking a few lines of code?

The focus of the event will be on helping developers make their first contribution to an Eclipse-related open source project. An impressive number of committers are already signed up to help you get started. If you’ve never had an opportunity to get involved with an Eclipse project, or you want to try your hand at contributing to another open source project in the Eclipse community, now is your chance to try it out with some guidance from seasoned experts.

All attendees should take a look at the Hackathon wiki page in advance to make sure they are prepared. If you don’t get a chance to prepare, come anyway and we’ll help you get setup. See you in Ludwigsburg!

Eclipse Vision, 2012

I came across this vision statement that I wrote for last year’s Eclipse Board of Directors elections. Although a bit lofty as a campaign platform, I still think it holds true. Since the original election pages are now gone, I thought I would post it here for posterity.

There has never been a more exciting time to be working in software development. The desktop computing model we have been working with for 25 years is steadily being replaced with different form factor devices such as phones, televisions, and tablets. Traditional mouse and keyboard inputs are being replaced with touch screens and voice controls. Java, whose visionary designers built the JVM for precisely this world of heterogeneous networked devices, has become too big and slow to keep up. HTML5 and JavaScript are replacing Java on the client side, and an assortment of dynamic languages are making inroads on the server. The browser and the web behind it are now the only ubiquitous platform that is available on every device and form factor.

Open source software is now bigger than ever, but an adhoc collection of small scale projects on community forges is starting to replace large scale foundations as the place where open development happens. Mirroring the shift from the JVM to the browser, this is happening in part because these community forges are small, agile, and can adapt more quickly to the rapidly changing computing landscape.

On the surface, none of this sounds good for Eclipse. Eclipse is a large foundation based on Java-based tools and runtimes. However, these underlying changes in the industry are a huge opportunity for Eclipse. The tools and runtime frameworks for the web are shockingly immature compared to Java. Above the browser there is a jumbled assortment of frameworks and implementations with no cohesion or stability. Everyone has written or cobbled together their own JavaScript application framework on the client, and many server side languages have pieced together frameworks of varying quality and scale. We application developers have to pick through this landscape to pull together the pieces (and versions) that work together well. Very often the pieces don’t fit together well, or have uncertain legal provenance. New versions of libraries come available at random intervals, or worse they never actually produce versions and developers just pull from the “master” branch and hope it is stable enough to use. Eclipse has the infrastructure and track record to do what nobody else is accomplishing in this space: building integrated, well tested components, delivered on a regular schedule, and maintaining clear and consistent license and legal checks on all code.

Another Eclipse Blog

I’ve long resisted creating a personal blog for my software development work. Software development is a highly collaborative team activity, and a personal weblog never felt like the right place to talk about this work. I spend most of my days writing words about Eclipse and Orion, but most of that is found in mailing lists, bugzilla, wikis, documentation, articles, books, and source code. However in some of my recent roles, such as on the Eclipse Board of Directors, or as program chair of EclipseCon 2013, I sometimes need to speak separately from the specific projects I’m involved with. I don’t expect to post here often, but I’ll use this blog when I can’t find a more suitable place for what I have to say.