Inside SWT

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

At EclipseCon 2014

Hi all,

It's been a while since I have posted and the title of this blog doesn't quite match the content these days but no matter.

I'm at EclipseCon 2014 and having a good time meeting old friends and finding out how things have been going lately.  Of course, I'm an Eclipse user and over the past few months, I was getting worried.  I was working on OpenJFX and using a really old version of Eclipse with lambda and default method support.  It compiled the code, but limped.

Recently, I thought I'd update.  OpenJFX is being lambda-ized and I thought I'd check out the latest tooling.  To my horror, I found enough problems that were "new and improved" (i.e. broken) that I became worried.  JavaFX ships as part of JDK8 and uses the new features of that release.  Eclipse has to work with JDK8 in order to develop OpenJFX.

I use all the IDE's but I have a soft spot for Eclipse.  Would I have to abandon it?

Fortunately, we have Bugzilla and there is a good ecosystem around JDT.  While on vacation and time shifted, I began quietly filing bug reports, isolating test cases and trying not to disturb the sleeping family.  I was very happy to find that the JDT committers where eager to help.  In particular Srikanth Adayapalam and Stephan Herrmann took my issues to heart.

I practice what I preach: A bug report needs a simple set of steps and a repeatable case.  Only then is it easily actionable.  Further, everyone is overworked and understaffed.  Every bug is not critical.  You can't 'cry wolf' and must interact carefully and honestly with the committers.  That way, when there is a wolf, people believe you.

I'm happy to report that Eclipse is now compiling and running OpenJFX without any problems.  I got a chance to meet Stephan and Srikanth and thank them personally.  It's not only important to me, but important to everyone in the Java universe that Eclipse works well now and in the future.  It seems obvious, but sometimes we forget the obvious.