The last time I blogged my thoughts on e4, I got quite a storm back at me. I don’t have much against e4, and frankly, I’m not to concerned about it. I am the C++ guy and in my opinion, we should be making tools and libraries to make rich client applications easier to build in C++, which is what most rich client apps are built with anyway. But while a lot of what e4 is surrounds innovation around RCP apps, the intention is that it should go beyond that. We should be able to leverage e4 in our tools.
My fear, confirmed by many, is that the projects won’t invest in e4 to ensure it gets adopted by the tools on the Eclipse trains. But, it’s not really that. It’s that the vendors that pay the committers working on those projects aren’t interested enough to invest in it. All the begging and pleading won’t really change that. In my years of open source experience, I’ve only seen that work when there was an obvious need that was going unfulfilled. I’m pretty sure that’s not the case with e4.
So if we want e4 to succeed, it’s up to the community to make it happen. In fact, I’ve challenged the Eclipse Architecture Council to lead the charge. If we believe in this architectural change and are sold ourselves that it needs to succeed, we need to take on the task of selling it to others, especially the vendors from whom we need approval. It should be what the Architecture Council is about.
How we do that? We need to show e4 running. In particular, we need to show prominent projects from the train running on e4, if not the entire train. And, of course it needs to work well and be easy to do, i.e. cheap. That requires a really good compatibility mode for e4, which is promised by the e4 team. And we need volunteers to do the builds, report bugs, and fix them.
“Build it an they will come” only works in baseball movies. Nothing sells a new idea like showing it in action and proving how easy it is to adopt. That will take work. Hopefully we’ll get the few bodies we need to get the ball rolling and give us something to run with. If we have enough people that care about e4, this shouldn’t be that difficult to accomplish.