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As per usual, EclipseCon was full of interesting new technologies, people using older technology in new ways, and a lot of social (mostly because of the Free Beer) engineers. I thought I'd offer an overview of the areas I was the most intrigued by this year.





On the first day, I went to a talk (that was actually more of a tutorial) to learn about a new test framework from Xored called Q7. Q7 will be a commercial product (sometime in the next 6 months most likely), but also have a community version. The tooling allows you to script tests in a similar way to how Rational Tester used to do it, but has hooks directly into the Eclipse platform UI bits so it doesn't need to rely (except in certain cases) on screen locations. They've even gone so far as to integrate it with Maven & Tycho for automatically triggering tests as part of the build.



They offer a free evaluation version that was released for EclipseCon here:


The differences between Q7 and SWTBot are quite large. The biggest of those differences being the ability to explicitly test pre-conditions (i.e. clean workspace with two projects, a few preferences changed, etc.) between tests. That alone makes this a compelling new product in the Eclipse test space and something we should seriously look into as opposed to continuing with SWTBot. They just released tentative pricing details here ( and I'd encourage Jiri and his team to check it out.


On the second day was the "Spy on your Models" talk that discussed the MoDisco EMF Model Browser. The MoDisco project ( offers a variety of tools to help navigate the EMF model hierarchy within the Eclipse tooling. Once you have that, you can execute queries and other interesting things in a SQL-like language that also has possibilities. I plan on downloading and playing with it in their Indigo release (



After that I saw a talk by Ed Merks on "Building Web Applications with EMF and GWT," which showed on the fly how EMF can build a quick GWT app that runs on the Google App Server merely by tweaking a few genmodel settings. It might not have been a great editor, but as something quick and easy to develop for the web it offers some interesting possibilities.


What not to do with p2

One of the more entertaining talks was "p2, your savior or your achilles heel? Everything an Eclipse team needs to know about p2." The pair giving the talk offered 10 things NOT to do when using P2. Hopefully they will release the slides at some point, but here are the top 10:


  1. Don't move or remove files on disk. Let p2 and the p2 garbage collector manage your install. Otherwise your metadata gets out of whack.
  2. Don't unzip your plug-in files over Eclipse. Instead, use a p2 repository (downloadable or online).
  3. Don't replace published content. The version/ID pair is immutable, so bad things occur when you overwrite plug-ins directly by name.
  4. Don't alter a released repository. People depend on those. Instead, specify a retention policy and create additional repositories.
  5. Don't NOT categorize features.
  6. Don't ignore version ranges.
  7. Use APIs, NOT internals.
  8. Don't use the metadata generator, use the publisher instead.
  9. Don't use legacy update sites or expect a long lag time when installing.
  10. Don't spell it P2 - it's a lower case p2.



I missed the Sapphire talk by Konstantin from Oracle, but caught him later that day and he showed me the wonders of the Sapphire framework. I'm still playing with Sapphire a bit, but you can read more here:


As I get the hang of it, I'll write up a blog post or two about how it works. Ultimately it's about providing an abstraction layer on top of the Eclipse UI to simplify tool development. It has a lot of potential to standardize the look & feel for new tools and simplify their development dramatically, but it's a technology in its formative days. That said, they're doing some amazing things with it and using it in commercial Oracle Eclipse applications, so I suspect it will mature quickly.




And that's about it for this year. There were many other great talks and the keynote featuring Watson the Jeapordy champion was quite entertaining and informative.


For other details about the conference, be sure to look at the EclipseCon 2011 site.

Note: JBoss Developer Studio 5 is now available, see


JBoss Developer Studio 4 is now avaliable for free (registration required) from


If you are an existing Red Hat Support Portal user/customer then you already should have access to JBoss Developer Studio via the Downloads section, but if you are a new user the only thing you need to do is to signup and you will be granted access to the free download of JBoss Developer Studio.


The direct link to the download no matter if you are existing or new user of Red Hat Support Portal is:

What is JBoss Developer Studio 4 ?

JBoss Developer Studio 4 comes as a full easy to install Eclipse installation that bundles Eclipse WTP, TestNG, Spring IDE and the latest updated release of the supported plugins from JBoss Tools 3.2.


This latest release highlights are that it is now based on Eclipse 3.6 (Helios), updates the JSF 2 tooling, adds remote deployment for JBoss server adapters, easier setup of existing runtimes, provides tech preview of improved CDI functionallity and it includes updates for the SOA-P related features such as Guvnor, Drools, jBPM 3, Teiid Designer and Modeshape plugins.


Free vs For Pay ?

The free version of JBoss Developer Studio is the standalone version which can be used with both community and productized versions of JBoss Application Server and related frameworks such as Hibernate, Seam, Drools, jbpm, etc. The difference between this distribution and JBoss Tools boils down to ease-of-installation and future updates.


The product called JBoss Developer Studio Portfolio Edition is also available from for 99$ and in addition to the standalone version of JBoss Developer Studio it gives access to a bundle with JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 5 and additional downloads for development purposes of JBoss and Red Hat runtime distributions - including but not limited to JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. You can read more about this offering at


Thus if you already have access to the runtimes you would like to target for development the free version of JBoss Developer Studio is for you, but if you want access to the full range of JBoss and Red Hat runtime products (+ updates) for developement then the Portfolio Edition is what you are looking for.


Have fun!

JBoss Tools introduced JSF 2 Composite Component support in version 3.2.0.M1, it matured through several development versions and got a lot of useful features:

  1. Content assist for component developers
  2. Content assist for component users
  3. Validation and quick fixes
  4. Refactoring
  5. Rendering in XHTML Visual Editor
  6. Resource Navigation in source and visual part of XHTML Visual Editor


Read full article about JBoss Tools JSF 2 Composite Component Support.

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