My Take on Eclipse PluginFest

Well, I’m finally home from my trip out to the Eclipse PluginFest. I made a side trip to Karlsbad, Germany to visit a customer, where it was pretty cool to see them adding their own plug-ins. Eclipse is indeed everywhere. And I was met by a very Canadian-like snow storm there. While it was fun to drive in, I missed out on a lot of sleep with the late arrival. But it was still warmer there than the -20C here.

Ian has a really nice summary of the PluginFest event so you can read that to get the general gist of what happened. From my seat, it went way beyond my expectations. I found everyone who attended to be very open and we all filled up our laptops with trial versions of each other’s products and tried them all together. I was concerned that being a commercial event there would be a lot of protectionism happening. But it turned out that most of us already knew eachother from past Eclipse events, so were instantly comfortable with each other.

For the most part everything worked, but that is to be expected given the clean plug-in architecture of Eclipse. But it did point out an important requirement that everyone be on the latest version of the Eclipse plug-ins. Happily we made that decision at QNX last year and it paid off for everyone who did. It was cool to see other plug-ins work with our product and that should open the door for some pretty cool environments for our customers. And the sentiment was shared by the other vendors there as well.

But as Ian mentioned, the value of the event went well beyond testing our plug-ins. It was a great opportunity to talk to everyone who was there. I had a lot of people ask me CDT questions, including a couple asking how to get involved and contribute the CDT changes they have had to make for their products. I also got a chance to talk to a couple of the CDT committers that were there to go over design issues we need to resolve. Meeting face-to-face this way is pretty expensive, but it certainly has a lot of value for the people that get to go.

We definitely need to do this again, maybe after a year to give us all a chance to get onto the Europa platform. The gang at Symbian were great hosts, but I have a feeling a lot more vendors will be interested in this next time and we’ll probably need a bigger venue. This was our first try at bringing vendors together for inter-operability testing and it really shows the value of the Eclipse architecture. And I’m sure all vendors building on Eclipse would be interested in this. I see big things in the future for the Eclipse PluginFest.