Much ado about scripting, Linux & Eclipse: card subject to change


Download Stats & Missing Data

According to Google Analytics' new "snot graph" tool, the top three downloads in Modeling these days are, in order: EMF, UML2, UML2 Tools.

OK, no big surprise there. But what's really surprising is that people are still downloading zips. Isn't it easier to get your bits via Update? Isn't that why we provide you, the community, with over 20 Modeling update sites (three per project), so you can pick and choose what features to install, rather than downloading & unpacking zips? (Not to mention the countless other sites provided by DSDP, WTP, BIRT, DLTK, DTP, Mylyn, PDT, Equinox, Eclipse, GEF...)

Hell, with the advent of Eclipse 3.4, you can now even update the platform itself, so the Eclipse experience need only be one zip + a ton of multi-threaded updates. Say what you will about p2 (and I've said my share) but isn't it faster and easier than having to download zips?

I can understand being stuck on a platform version from a while ago, but with Eclipse 3.5 only 4 months away (yikes!), and e4 due next year, should anyone still be using Eclipse 3.0 or 3.1 and EMF 2.0 or 2.1? You're missing out on over three years of new development!

What's even more bizarre to me is that when maintenance releases are available, people still download the point-zero releases. Are we wasting our time doing maintenance? Should we be focusing on the next release instead? (In related news, Ganymede SR2 is just around the corner. Is everyone ready for what will be the final chapter for the Eclipse 3.4 stack?)

Of course the one glaring hole in all this data are the numbers around how many update jars are downloaded. If you'd like to see this resolved, have a look at bugs 239668 and 187968 and vote accordingly. It's really depressing to think that since September 15 we've only had 150,000 downloads (100,000 unique) when in 2006 we broke 1,000,000 downloads for 2006 on December 1 of that year, averaging just under 100,000 downloads a month.

Either the popularity of EMF - and of Modeling - has waned by two thirds, or we need a better way to capture stats.


David Carver said...

I personally still get zips, and combine myself especially when rebuilding a new eclispe configuration. In fact, I use a custom CEB builder script that will go and pull all the zips down for the various plugins I use and build a complete customized version of eclipse on any of the platforms I need. It takes a total of 20 minutes to complete. P2 could be used, but zips are just easier to work with at this time. Less setup and it doesn't require relying on anything but ANT and ZIP.

Michael Scharf said...

Why I prefer zips over update?

- Update "pollutes" my installation.
+ With zips I can install it easily into extension locations.

- With update it is very difficult to have different eclipse versions sharing the same plugins (I know that is a p2 promise, but I have not been able to figure out how to use that)
+ With extension locations I can have different eclipses sharing the same plugins

- If I update to a newer version, then the old plugin files are still in my installation directory.
+ With extension zips + extension location I can throw away old stuff easily

- When some dependencies are not resolvable, update refuses to update (which means: it forces me to install things in a particular order, or at least I have to add all update sites in the beginning).
+ With zip that's not a problem. Some features might not work, but once the dependencies are there it works.

- The features in update manager are to fine granular and often the names of the features are too cryptic (they make only sense to experts): it is hard to figure out what I want.
--> Zips usually contain a meaningful set of features

- With update it is tricky to uninstall a set of features
+ With zips + extension location I can rename or delete the extension location and it disappears

- If eclipse does not start because of some problems with some plugins (this happens to me regularly with the ccrc (clear case remote client)) I cannot start eclipse until I have disabled the plugins. Well, using the update manager requires to start eclipse....
+ with zips and extension locations
I can easily disable some plugins temporarily by renaming the extension location