Eclipse London DemoCamp November 2009

The London Eclipse DemoCamp hosted by SkillsMatter was held on the 24th of November near the Barbican. Ralph Mueller, Director of the Eclipse ecosystems in Europe kicked off proceedings by giving the 40-strong audience an insight into Eclipse’s history as well as its future. In particular highlighting how major companies like Airbus may be turning to Eclipse in order to solve the problems they face, particularly the lack of continuity in front of very long lifecycle products. This is very interesting to see how the relationship between companies and open source continues to evolve with open source and Eclipse playing an ever increasingly important role.

There were four Eclipse demos on show. First up was Paul Gibbons from Diamond LightSource. Paul was demoing the latest version of the GDA, the scientific software used to run experiments at the UK synchrotron. Paul also announced that the GDA is going open source and the framework will be available to other synchrotron facilities worldwide. Kichwa Coders developed the initial prototype of the GDA on Eclipse and it was great to see how it has been progressing, having now gone live and having more and more functionality including 2D and 3D graphing.

Next, I was up and gave a demo of CyanIDE2 which we have been working with Cyan on. It all went smoothly as I walked through creating a new project through to getting LEDs flashing on the board. That was great as it highlighted the tools aim of being able to get a program running on a board in just a few minutes. Also it highlighted how Eclipse is allowing chip companies to drive technology forward and develop new solutions for systems-on-a-chip (SOCs).

The other two demos featured Miles Sabin showing us the latest from the Scala IDE and Neil Bartlett demoing Sun’s Microsystems tooling for JavaFX within Eclipse. Both shared the common theme that they were extending the JDT to integrate their respective languages in. The Scala talk highlighted how the team have gone down the route of using AspectJ to monkey-patch Eclipse JVM code out of necessity. They highlighted how they have not been able to get patches integrated by the core Eclipse Java team, for understandable reasons and so have had to resort to the binary-code modification route. Seems very severe, but very interesting – certainly a use of aspect oriented programming I’d never envisaged! Neil’s talk also include a nice demo of using OSGi for runtime modularity for JavaFx which was good to see.

Afterwards, we all convened to the nearby pub, ‘The Slaughtered Lamb’ for a post-mortem and drinks courtesy of Ralph Mueller. Kudos for Neil Bartlett for organizing the event and keeping it running to time. All in all, a very interesting and stimulating evening with the Eclipse community.

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