Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Quick view on the BPEL Designer

I have been playing around with the first code drop of the Eclipse BPEL Designer during the last couple of days. It's a quite impressive and neat tool. The current status allows you to open, view, edit and save a .bpel file using the editor. New activities can simply be created by dragging and dropping them from the palette into the editor. Their properties can be modified using the properties view which comes in the new tabbed style.

So basically you are able to model a business process according to the BPEL 1.1 spec. The only little discomfort is that you can not yet create a .bpel file using a wizard. However, if you start from the samples provided you can get along quite well :)

The BPEL editor comes with a set of extension points that enable 3rd party vendors to bind their BPEL runtime or define new component palettes.

There is lots of more stuff to come in the future milestones (including validation, creation wizards, debug, integrating with runtimes etc.) and a first release (1.0) is tentatively scheduled for 1st of October 2006.

More information and resources are available at the BPEL Designer website.

Friday, February 24, 2006

What is my selection ?

Do you know that problem? There is a view in Eclipse displaying some artficats and you want to contribute a new popup menu entry for them. So you go ahead and create a new objectContribution for the org.eclipse.ui.popupMenus extension point. The only question is, what object type do I want to contribute the entry for? How do I find out what kind of objects are displayed?

One way is to go and have a look at the source code of any view that displays this object and dig a bit in their label or content provider. Doing so you need to find out where the view is implemented and so on ...

I have written a tiny tool that should make things easier here and shows the type of the object selected. You simply right click an object in a view and select "Show selection".

A small message box will pop-up presenting some information about the object you selected.

Typically in your extension you would want to specify one of the interfaces for the object type to contribute a menu entry for.

To many people have asked me to tell them what type of object they are seeing because they want to contribute an action or menu. I was just sick of searching everytime :) You can download the plugin including sources here.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Eclipse 3.2 M5

Eclipse 3.2 Milestone 5 was released just before the weekend. I haven't had much time to look into it over the weekend so it was the first thing I did this morning. There are lots of new nice and helpfull features available. I am impressed how everytime I download a new Milestone things still improve and new features appear. This is fantastic for experienced users. However I am a bit worried that at some stage "newcommers" will be overwhelmed by the functionality.

Nevertheless, I tested a few of the new features and here are my favorite 3:
  1. Generate hashCode() and equals()

    This new source action allows you to generate the hashCode() and equals() method for a class. You can select the fields to be inlcuded in the methods. Especially when having lots of fields, generating that code is so helpfull. And most of all you don't forget to override hashCode() when you override equals(), which still is a common mistake :)

  2. Variable name completion

    When creating a new variable and specifying a name the code completion will try and complete the variable name even if characters are typed that do not match.

    Example: String fMy is completed to fMyString

  3. Grouping problems

    It is now possible to group problems by different specifiers, e.g. by Java Problem Type.

Find out more about new features at the New and Noteworthy list and download Eclipse 3.2 M5 here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cheat Sheets in Eclipse

Cheat Sheets are an evolving technology in Eclipse, especially for companies that build complex products based on Eclipse. Cheat Sheets are some kind of "semi-automatic" tutorials that guide you through complex tasks of a product. Let's take the famous "Hello World". One example of a Cheat Sheet is, how to create a new plug-in that says "Hello World". The tutorial would guide you through the steps of creating, implementing and running the plug-in. Some of the steps, like creating a project, can be executed automatically.

Cheat Sheets are integrated into Eclipse as a view and hence can be read and performed whithout leaving the workbench.

I recently published a tutorial on how to create Cheat Sheets.

Welcome to my blog

Blogging becomes more and more popular not only for private use but also in the industry. There is a big blog community growing at the moment around Eclipse. People use blogs to share ideas, visions, tips and tricks as well as problems and news about Eclipse. Well there is one more now ! :-)

Welcome to my Eclipse and Java blog. I will try and post some interesting stuff about my experience with Eclipse and my daily work in that area. Have fun ...