I've been really focussed on Tasktop projects during the day and haven't had much time to surface out into the broader open source development world. I'm also using the excuse of having a real job to try to have a life -- like spending time with our 1 1/2, 3 and 10 year olds and giving mom a break every once in a while, having time to reengage with meditation practice, and even spending a couple of hours a week getting our model train layout built. Basically, trying to ween myself away from the 24-hour a day developer mentality that seems to creep in when you're working on your own. One of the things that I've really appreciated about being at Tasktop is the family focus here; generally people actually go home at a sane hour of the day -- all too rare in the startup world. So I've been working at calling it a day around six (OK, sometimes I don't stick to that) and I've committed myself to no more late night blogging sessions! Still, I'm going to try to squeeze in some more blogs now that I'm settled in a bit. And this one happens to have an official purpose -- I want to share where we are with the Virgo Tooling effort.
Interestingly, one of the first things I started working on after joining Tasktop was Virgo Tooling; a perhaps less known aspect of Tasktop is that we partner with other companies to support Eclipse-related tools development efforts that aren't neccesarily Task related. (I have to say that that probably has something to do with the excellent reputation Tasktop engineering has in the Eclipse community. If you're interested in joining us, I should mention that we're hiring.) And we have a great relationship with the folks at SpringSource, now part of VMware. Leo Dos Santos, Ducky Sherwood and others have contributed a lot to the STS and other tools.
Now, I've never really been a web-centric developer, so I hadn't been exposed to all of the great tools that SpringSource has provided over the years. VMware and SpringSource have very genorously donated big chunks of these tools to the Eclipse project. We're helping to take the foundation provided by the Spring Source tools and integrating them with the entire stack of Eclipse runtime, web and plugin development tools.
A lot of the work that Leo and I started out on was a bit mundane, really -- sometimes there are things you just need to do in order to move ahead. One of the biggest things we've taken care of is excising all of the pesky dependencies from Virgo to the originating Spring Source tooling. That turned out to be a really big job, and it was kind of interesting work hunting all of these pieces down and finding replacements for them or in many cases, removing redundant or non-relvant code altogether. There is something rewarding about making code smaller and more modular. Naturally, we also worked a lot on updating features, branding, etc.. -- all of the necessary overhead that comes along with being an Eclipse project.
But after tackling all of that, we've had some time to make some improvements that you can actually see. Here are the biggest changes that you'll see in the latest version. (By the way, wondering what happened to M3? There wasn't one -- we're synching our milestones up to the Virgo Runtime releases, so we skipped it.)
What's new in M4
Improved Server Support
All of the new views are supported through the Eclipse Common Navigator Framework (CNF), which means that the views are highly configurable, and we've provided buttons to allow you to easily toggle on and off artifact types and present the artifacts in a tree or list view so that you can see all installed jars in one place.
- Extensive bug fixes and re-factorings.
- All Remaining Spring Dependencies have been removed.
- Updated to meet Eclipse branding, packaging build and testing standards.
- And yeah, there are still a lot of open bugs.