EclipseCon Europe 2016 So Glad to be Back

I spent a good chunk of the week trying to figure out the last time I was at EclipseCon Europe. The last thing I remember was spending a night in the Nestor bar until 5 a.m. with a handful of attendees, including Torkild, with the honored presence of Dave Thomas, the spiritual founder of Eclipse. That was 2008! It’s been eight years! I’ve missed so much. But I’m so glad that things in my life have cleared up to enable me to attend and I don’t expect I’ll miss another one for a while.

My biggest take away from the conference is simply the diversity of the people interested in Eclipse and the diversity of things happening at Eclipse. There’s still a large chunk of it related to the RCP platform and the IDE we build on top of it. But there’s really cool things happening with the Science and IoT groups as well. And the OSGi lego train display was mesmerizing but really showed off OSGi’s roots in the industrial space.

The week started with the CDT Summit on Monday. We had a good representation from different companies who build tools based on the CDT. We had a mini demo camp where they had the opportunity to show off what they’re doing. There’s some really cool stuff happening. It’s great to see them trying to make the complex world of embedded development simpler to understand through some great visualizations. We also noticed a couple of areas where the different vendors are building the same functionality. Those are great opportunities to collaborate in the open and the CDT project is very welcoming to new things. Finally it was very interesting to see how all the vendors really rely on our managed build GUI to simplify compiler and other build settings for users. That’s something we’ll need to carry forward into the new Core Build system (which I still need to blog about, stay tuned for that).

On Tuesday, I had my talk where I showed off Eclipse for embedded. It’s really a showcase of all the hard work we’ve done to simplify CDT for embedded development and to support open frameworks that users are using today, including Arduino, Qt, CMake, ESP8266, etc. It also shows why Eclipse is so important to us in the embedded world. IoT is a marketing buzzword, but it’s also an architecture that many of us have used in the past and which is growing thanks to accessible cloud platforms. These days, you need to program both your Arduino and your cloud service and Eclipse lets you do those things with a single IDE.

The rest of the week was spent chatting with my open source collegues, building relationships, getting a feel for the current state of the Eclipse IDE and where we need to go in the future. The Visual Studio Code keynote from Dirk Baeumer we very eye opening. I’ve been studying VS.Code for a few months trying to get a sense of what it’s appeal is and whether a desktop IDE based on a Web frontend is the new modern way of building IDEs. Now VS.Code isn’t an IDE, or at least it’s not as much an IDE as the Eclipse IDE is. We have a lot of tools that render different sorts of data visually in Eclipse and those high value things need to carry forward in any new world. But it’s food for thought and I’m going to invest some time to see what can be done there.

As Mike loves to say in his keynotes, Eclipse is many things. I think first and foremost, it’s a community. Technologies come and go, and individual people come and go, but there always seems to be a great energy when we come together. The task for us is to carry that energy forward into our day-to-day work and keep momentum going on all the great things we talked about. It’s not easy, but it’s why we need to be there.