February 7, 2013
Almost ten years ago, Gary Gregory requested the feature “Text Viewer and Editor needs to support word wrap” in bug 35779. Currently, the bug has 203 comments and up to now 209 people have voted for this bug. There is only one bug that has more votes than the word wrap bug. Nevertheless, the bug is still open and probably will stay open forever.
Until yesterday. Yesterday, Florian Weßling proposed a solution. I tested it with the Eclipse IDE for Java Developers 4.3M4:
Video: Quicktest of Florian Weßling’s Word Wrap Patch
Conclusion: The text editor patch is quite promising. There are only a few minor cosmetic issues left. The performance has to be tested. Hopefully, the patch will get applied soon by the Platform team. Good job, Florian!
Update: Florian also blogged about his proposed solution, which would be his first contribution to Eclipse.
February 5, 2013
Have you ever seen Eclipse Vex, a Visual Editor for XML, in action? The following video will give you a short impression of how to create an XML document like XHTML with Vex:
Video: Vex – Getting Started
Last week the first milestone of Eclipse Vex 1.1 has become available. A core API should make it easier to use Vex as a widget in RCP or SWT applications. A lot of refactorings and clean-ups have been carried out by our project lead Florian for this new API. In Vex 1.1M1 XML comments can be added everywhere (even before or after the root element) and a couple of bugs have been fixed (see also New and Noteworthy).
To install Vex 1.1M1 drag to your running Eclipse application window (this requires the Marketplace client, which is included in all Eclipse packages except Eclipse Classic).
September 9, 2012
Today, Eclipse Vex 1.0 (drag to install), the Visual Editor for XML, has been released. The release and graduation review has been successfully passed. No egg anymore, which indicates incubation project phase.
John Krasnay started the Vex project at SourceForge in 2002. In December 2002 Vex 0.1 was released as a Java Swing application (see screenshot below) that provides a word processor-like interface for editing XML documents. The first Eclipse-based version was Vex 1.0, which was released in July 2004. In April 2005 version 1.2.1 was released. Then the project became inactive.
In 2008 David Carver migrated the project to Eclipse or – to be more precise – into the Eclipse Web Tools Platform (WTP) Incubator Project. In 2009 I became committer and Florian Thienel joined in 2010. In 2011 Vex became a project on its own in Mylyn Docs led by Florian, the most active developer.
In the last 10 years many people have contributed to Vex. Thanks to all those people Vex is reborn in version 1.0 again. Happy birthday Vex!
July 13, 2012
Tobias Althoff, Susanne Könning and Ji Shin, computer science students at the University of Münster, have developed the Eclipse Search CSV Export plug-in. It is their very first Eclipse plug-in, which was originally created for Pacx, the Platform for Annotated Corpora in XML. But it can be used in Eclipse and other Eclipse based application as well. Since I was only their guide to the Eclipse universe, I would now like to yield the floor to the real authors:
Do you know this feeling? You are searching something, find it, and then… then what? You don’t have any way to use your Eclipse search results in another program. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to export your results into a *.csv file?
Guess what! That’s possible now. We proudly present the CSV Export Plug-in for the Eclipse File Search.
Tobias Althoff, Susanne Könning and Ji Shin
June 26, 2012
72 projects contributed 55 Million lines of code to the ninth Simultaneous Release, more projects and more code than in the years before. Even if the bars are adjusted to reflect the more fine-grained project structure since Indigo in 2011 this is quite impressive:
But will Eclipse and the Simultaneous Release continue to grow? Since the beginning of Eclipse 10 years ago the number of active committers and active projects has increased from year to year. In the Juno year 14 new projects have been created in contrast to 13 projects that have been terminated. The total number of projects stays at around 200. But the equivalent number of projects has created more bugs than in the year before:
Hopefully, the percentage of projects participating in the Simultaneous Release will grow and hopefully Vex will be part of Kepler next year.
PS: Please feel free to use the diagrams (attribution is nice to have but not required). Let me know if you would like to have the diagram as SVG or translated.
January 28, 2012
Florian’s article on how to use Vex as an editor widget has just been published in the German Eclipse Magazin 2.12. In a sample dialog Vex is used to enter Wiki text in the WYSIWYG way.
Vex is a pure SWT widget and doesn’t require any web browser. It’s an alternative to the solution FCKEditor in a browser widget which Thomas Kratz recently described in his post.
Vex is an acronym for Visual Editor for XML. With Florian’s WYSIWYG Wiki editor we have to rename Vex into Vest: Visual Editor for structured text.
January 10, 2012
Vex has moved from being a component in the WTP Incubator project to being a project on its own in Mylyn Docs. Like all other Eclipse projects Vex has its own home page: eclipse.org/vex. Our project lead is Florian Thienel, currently the 99% of Vex (only you can change this).
Last week milestone 8 was released. If you already use Vex then you have to migrate your vex-plugin.xml files. Otherwise you should give Vex a try to edit XML files word processor like.
The next big thing is XML Schema support in addition to the good old DTDs. Already 1.0.0 M8 contains basic support for it. At the moment you have to register the XML Schema manually by editing the vex-plugin.xml file – the UI to do this is under development. So stay tuned. Vex is moving forward slowly but surely.
September 2, 2011
Based on a survey which I carried out with nine technical writers last year and based on my own experience, I’d like to address three main issues in the Eclipse help system and suggest some ideas how to improve them.
Issue 1: Top-most search results irrelevant
More often than not help is entered via search than via navigating the table of content. In cases where the requested information is available but cannot be found, this is often not because of none or too few search results but because of too many. For example, in the search results for console, Clear Console and Pin Console are displayed above Console View.
Maybe the ranking could be improved (see bug 356623) by taking the TOC hierarchy (in the TOC both Clear Console and Pin Console are children of Console View) and the linkage into account. Currently the link text is attributed to the topic that contains the link instead of – like in Google – the target topic. Especially, topics that contain the search expression in the See also or Related topics sections only should not be found. Another idea would be to have a kind of auto-grouping function similar to Google’s “More results from…” feature or similar to the already existing “Show result categories” function which has to be enabled manually and which works only on the book level instead of any arbitrary depth.
Issue 2: Nothing found
Stemming is applied to the words of the query, e.g. trick finds tricks or restoring finds restore (tip: to disable stemming surround query with quotes) but if you search for Runing external tool then nothing will be found. One little typo (in the query or in the documentation) and the Search Results tab is empty; no Did you mean: Running… will assist you (see bug 356624).
Wildcards (e.g. th?se finds these and those, work* finds workspace and working sets) and the not yet by Eclipse Help supported fuzzy search (e.g. thus~ finds this) extends the result set too, but only few people use or would ever use it at all. Also according to the survey, the missing Did you mean feature would be much more preferred than the already supported wildcards and the not yet supported fuzzy search.
Issue 3: Sharing (Web Application only)
Cent 2: Thanks!
All of the survey participants and I are very satisfied with the Eclipse help system – a special thanks to Chris Goldthorpe for quickly fixing two problems that occurred with our extremely large documentation. But as you know: give them an inch and they will take a mile and the best is the enemy of the good.
June 19, 2011
Three of our major players have published the marketing version of the simultaneous releases bar chart that shows an amazing increase of projects.
(Based on an advertising from 1954)
62 Indigo projects compared to 39 Helios projects suggest that 23 projects have joined the release train. However, when taking a closer look at these numbers, one notices that it is the way of counting that has changed. While for instance EMF Compare and EMF Validation among EMF were counted as one in Helios, in Indigo these are two separate projects. Counting the old way the Indigo figures are less impressive:
Simultaneous releases compared (also as SVG)
Anyway, there is still some room for marketing: it wouldn’t be wrong to claim that Indigo consists of 79 projects in total (about a quarter of all Eclipse projects).
Irrespective of the way of counting, there are two more projects in Indigo than in Helios: 11 projects joined and 9 stepped off the train.
11 additional projects:
9 Helios projects that are not in Indigo:
The total number of lines of code has increased by about 40%, which is due to extensive newcomers like Object Teams, WindowBuilder and Jubula and the addition of new subprojects of WTP and Mylyn.
According to Wayne and Dash there are 408 Indigo committers compared to 431 Helios committers (of a total of about 1000 Eclipse committers) who represent about 50 companies.
In my view, whichever way you count it, these are good numbers.
May 27, 2011
Last year, I tried to write and publish an Eclipse plug-in within one day (read here if successfully or not). Now, one year later, I proudly present an update of Open with Eclipse which adds Open with Eclipse to the Windows file context/right-click menu (hints how to do this also in Linux or MacOS are most welcome).
At startup a dialog is shown if the current application has not yet been added to the file context menu or if an application that is referenced by a menu item has been removed:
New and Noteworthy:
- Works now also in a 64-bit JRE (thanks to Ganor for the hint, to Timothy Gerard Endres for JNIRegistry and MinGW-w64 for being able to cross-compile a 64-bit DLL).
- Support for more than one menu item: helpful if you have more than one installation of Eclipse or when uninstalling an old and installing a new version of Eclipse in a different directory (see screenshot above).
- The icon of the application is shown in the menu (Windows Vista and Windows 7 only).
- Customizable to use in your RCP application: Open with MyRcpApplication (see How to customize).
Open Source does not require such warnings – doesn’t work anyway with pre-school children as I saw myself
Taste it via Marketplace client or by using following Update Site: http://openwitheclipse.sf.net/update