Camping the Eclipse Way

Hmmm. Instead of huddling around a campfire, we were huddled around a projector screen, and there was lots of beer, so I guess it qualifies as my kind of camping. I attended the Ottawa Demo Camp last night and it was a pretty interesting evening. There were around 30-40 people there and we had 7 demos by various people who work on Eclipse technologies that live in the Ottawa area. Only a couple were from IBM, which kinda dominates the scene here, so it was good to see the diversity.

The one I found most interesting was a new start-up called Protecode. They demoed the product they are building that helps secure any IP issues that can be introduced as developers are working in the code. I’m sure some of those developers would be creeped-out by a tool watching you cut and paste code and recording if you pasted code you shouldn’t have. But for large firms that have strict IP policies, this would be a great tool to help them find issues early in the development cycle when there is still time to address them. I had some nice comments talking to their CTO after about how great it was to have the CDT available to them so that they could get some C/C++ developers using their tooling and help them get to market quickly. And that’s what the Eclipse ecosystem is all about.

For my demo, I had to quickly put something together. Things have been pretty busy for me lately and the demo slots were only 10 minutes anyway. So I decided to show a side by side comparison of the features in the newly released Visual C++ Express 2008 and Wascana’s CDT 4.0. Even I was little surprised at how evenly we are matched with the “Goliath” in our space. And, of course, to show the real benefit of Eclipse and the CDT, I showed how I extended the CDT to generate new project code and build settings for wxWidgets using CDT’s extension points and the Plug-in Development Environment. Not something you can do with the free, or even the paid, version of Visual Studio.

All in all it was a great evening. I got to catch up with some old colleagues of mine and got to see the diversity of interest in Eclipse here in Ottawa. And from what I hear, the other Demo Camps being planned are just as big if not bigger. It would be cool to be able to see what everyone is doing in Budapest