Oisín Hurley's Weblog

old dog, new tricks

Eclipse 2009 Thursday

with 5 comments

Nearly there. This is the final article in a tetralogy of tardy tales from EclipseCon 2009. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to the end of this, where I can put a big scratch mark through my notes and call them done.

Thursday 26th March

OSGi Dual Talks: Clouds + Bundle Generation

This dual talk turned into a singleton due to the US immigration office who didn’t manage to get a travel visa to the presenter in time for the conference. There seemed to be a lot of this about. Because I’m on the programme committee, I got to see a number of emails, and there was a couple of tweets too, where developers with Eastern European-style names didn’t get replies on their visas in a timely fashion. Further research indicates that the immigration people are guiding 150 days in advance application for scientific/technical conference travel visas. So, as the Irish Girl Guides say bí ullamh – be prepared: either get your application in early, or change your name.

Back to the cloud. Alexsey showcased some interesting tech around managing and deploying bundles into Amazon EC2, as well as discussing some of the security issues. There’s a lot of this about too. Many companies are constructing their own tools around deployment and management into Amazon and private clouds, using OSGi technology as a handy enabler for standardized packaging and lifecycle. The scale of the activity was brought into sharp relief when I got to sit in on an OSGi Tools meeting on Friday morning. Conclusion – moderately interesting. Next step – wait for someone to develop a standard application model for OSGi.

Conquering GEF: Creating well designed graphical editors and bringing them to the Web

Over in FUSE-land, we’ve got a lot of software that use graph models. Integration graphs, dependency graphs, pipelines, that kind of thing. Graphs are great for visualizing, but when you’ve got the job of doing this for both browser and IDE based tools, then you start looking for ways to minimize your code base forkage. The RAP guys have done a great job in bringing SWT to the Web. If there was a chance that GEF, or better still Zest, could be brought to the Web, then that would be full of win. That’s why I went to this talk, which was standing room only.

Once more, this was a talk of two halves. The first half was a kind of a playbook for GEF, and while that was moderately interesting from the point of view of a useful summary of the trials and errors of getting GEF right, the real meat was in the second part of the talk. Here, Vineet brought us from a GEF editor running in a workbench, to the same editor working in a standalone form without a workbench, to the same editor working in a browser. Very cool. The only downside here is that it’s early days for the work, and there are issues that need to be resolved as well as features that need to be added. The way that it happens behind the scenes is that the original GEF code is compiled to ActionScript (some manual intervention required if there’s name clashes) and then that ActionScript is the thing that gets rendered in the browser window. Definitely worth looking into as it matures. Conclusion – very interesting. Next step – come back and check this out after the summer.

Eclipse Swordfish – an open source SOA runtime framework for the enterprise

Swordfish is Eclipse’s very own ESB – you can’t have an open source community without one – and builds upon Apache ServiceMix and Apache CXF with some added-value capabilities and services. One neat technological advance they have in there is an extensible framework for dynamically generating interceptor chains which are installed in the Normalized Message Router to mediate message exchange. Now there’s a statement that only makes sense to probably about ten people, all of whom are already too busy writing in their own blogs to notice it and marvel at its awesome niche techiness. So it goes. For everyone else, I’ll offer the statement that this enables policy-driven behaviour. The ESB is OSGi-based, and uses JBI (also not as dead as people think) as the way to bundle up units of function. Conclusion – very interesting. Next step – must try it out a bit.

Afterwards, I said to Oliver that it was a good presentation, but probably a bit too much technical detail towards the end. He reminded my that the last time he did a presentation I had told him it was too high-level. He then asked was it possible to make me happy. I replied in the negative.

There’s always an issue with demonstrating middleware. It is not interesting to some people to see command windows and logs – the MEGO effect is immediately apparent. It’s like demonstrating intestines. All you have to look at is the output, and it’s not really that pleasant. Ideally, you could take a chunk of intestine out, and attach electrodes to it, then you could pop your microphone in one end, throw the power switch and the induced peristalsis would rocket the mic out the other end, where you could catch it in an amusing manner. I bet you would get a whole lot of +1s for that demo. But you can’t do that with middleware, alas.

SOA Ecosystems

Yet another one of these curated talks – I’ve got feedback on the plus, minus and meh sides of the argument on this model for talks, so I’m interested in what y’all think. Leave a comment with your, er, comment. I’ll bring it back to the programme committee.

This started off badly because I turned up late to introduce it. Zsolt had already started Eclipse Community Registry, a building block to foster the adoption of the Eclipse Runtime and I’d swear that I got a few filthy looks from Adrian. Sorry, guys. This community registry that Zsolt was talking about sounded like a super-duper version of EPIC – but for services. It’s a service registry with handy stuff like tagging, voting, commentary and the like. Zsolt made sure to point out that this is just an idea at the moment, it’s not a project as yet, he’s just putting it out there to see what people think. Conclusion interesting. Next step – wait and see.

The second talk, galaxy, an open agile platform using dynamic software architecture continued the theme of long talk names, and removed the convention of capitalization. This was a consumer style of talk – Fy brought us through a fairly large-scale initiative being explored by INRIA to construct a development platform that integrates open standard technologies, includes an agile design and modeling environment, and ensure direct feedback to the design from a monitoring infrastructure. It looks neat, and my first thought was that well, this is a long way off. But it turns out there’s a date on it, in Q4 2010, so that makes it more interesting. Conclusion – very interesting. Next step – keep an eye on what’s going on.

Personal applause for Fy because he did a presentation which was almost completely pictures! Yay!

The final event of the day, and the conference, was The Eclipse Community Spotlight. It’s the same every year, the top-level project leads, or their designated PMC representative get to sit in front of the whole crowd and answer questions. Every year, Doug Gaff does the lyrics of Baby Got Back sotto voce into one of the mics before they are switched on. This year, we found out exactly how much Eclipse real estate David Williams (WTP lead) owns – all of our base is pretty much belong to him.

That’s it for this year. As per usual it’s all great fun, and there was visits to one of the best Thai restaurants in the area, one or two great socializing occasions at receptions and bars, and awesome high-bandwidth interactions with people that can help me solve issues, forge alliances, explain concepts, and such important things. Ultimately, huge thanks are due to Bjorn, Scott, Anne and the rest of the extended team that made this all happen.

(Don’t forget to take the survey!)


Written by oisinhurley

April 3, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Posted in conferences, eclipse

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5 Responses

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  1. Oisin,

    This is a great set of blogs. I really appreciate the Irish sense of wit and humour. 🙂 Thanks for doing them.


    Ian Skerrett

    April 3, 2009 at 1:46 pm

  2. Thanks for all the effort you put into these posts, Oisín. It was a very entertaining, and refreshingly honest read! I particularly liked the middleware imagery. And I had no idea what went on behind the scenes when Doug Gaff has in his possession a switched-off mic. 😉

    Mark Melvin

    April 3, 2009 at 1:54 pm

  3. Swordfish isn’t based on ServiceMix – in fact, it’s a competitor. It’s based on Sopera’s runtime for Duetsch Post (apologies for misspelling). He mentioned ServiceMix as why they didn’t use or build upon it – I believe they needed the filters/interceptors that you mention. At least, that’s my understanding.


    Alex Blewitt

    April 3, 2009 at 3:14 pm

  4. For your delectation, Alex, feast your eyes on the content of the Swordfish 0.8 release, and see if you spot anything 😉



    April 3, 2009 at 3:17 pm

  5. I sit corrected 🙂

    Alex Blewitt

    April 3, 2009 at 4:37 pm

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