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


EclipseCon '09: Y.A.R.R*

* Yet Another Retrospective Roundup

The highlights of this year's con for me include...

The rousing success that was our Dash Athena tutorial, in no small part thanks to Andrew O and Andrew N contributing heavily to the content, flow, and technical expertise. (I also credit a year's worth of improvements, refactorings and cross-platform testing on Mac OSX, WinXP and Linux, plus having a better UI story.) Thanks also to Barry Lafond for his invaluable assistance passing out USB keys and helping to get late-arrivers up to speed. For those that don't know Barry, he works on the Teiid Designer project at, which I'm going to have to look carefully at in future, to learn more about virtual databases.

I also caught a demo of the Eclipse Modeling Project's CDO thanks to Eike offering to give myself and Marcelo Paternostro a quick recap of his talk, which we both missed due to conflicts. Now that I'm split between the Eclipse and JBoss communities, CDO looks like a perfect way to help bridge these two arenas as it connects the Eclipse Modeling world with the JBoss Hibernate world - among other things. Now I just need to find a reason to use it, and time to adopt his new website for the rest of Modeling. :)

Despite the somewhat slower economy this year, it was great to see some old traditions were kept alive:

  • Getting gouged 150% of meter price by SFO cabbies
  • The $13 burger n' fries at the Hyatt bar
  • Sleeping in on Wednesday due to working/partying too hard for the first three nights
  • EclipseCon By The Numbers on the final day

Some traditions that were regrettably missing this year:

  • Watching Ed Merks talk about the stupidity of Modeling (though Peter Friese did an excellent job in his stead)
  • Attending BoFs - I missed all the BoFs I wanted to attend due to other distractions
  • Sneaking off for a swim on at least two afternoons of the con
  • Sneaking in to Ralph's 'European Committers Afterparty' to schmooze with the German and French modelers
  • The convenience of staying at the Hyatt (despite being charged $200/night + $10/day for wifi)
  • Buying a new WD MyBook USB hard drive at Microcenter (my bag was already too full of EclipseCon booty, and the offer of a free lift to SFO was just too good to pass up - thanks, Denis G!)

With a new year (and for me, a new team) comes the start of new traditions, such as:

  • Replacing plastic water bottles w/ glasses & water coolers
  • B.Y.O.B.S.T.E.D (and $50 in books for my Celebrity Cruises bag from Seward, Alaska, woo!)
  • Monday's 'Galileo' salad (everything in one dish)
  • Tweeting, tweeting, and more tweeting!
  • Fashion crime free committer shirts! No more denim, no more beige!
  • JBoss beer glasses (though unfortunately I set mine down to talk to Bernd Kolb about SAP possibly using Athena to build the Eclipse SDK, as after 3.4.2 IBM won't do it, and someone bussed it while I wasn't looking)
  • Skipping the EclipseCon-provided lunch on Thursday for an all-dressed 'Spicy Italian' from Subway + a 'Black + Blue' smoothie from World Wraps
  • Our post-Con LaserQuest soiree - winning the first game and getting decimated in the second game
  • Our post-Con planning meetings @ the Ramada ($70/night + free wifi), to better dialogue between the various teams in Moscow, Minsk, Beijing, Switzerland, Belgium, the US, and of course, Canada.
  • Designing the Captains Of Awesome jackets and JBoss Tools wordle shirts, thanks to Rob Stryker's idea and Max's help

One tradition started last year I had hoped to avoid was that of "bring a laptop to EclipseCon, go home with a wifiless brick". Last year I brought two Thinkpads, and had NO wifi from one and spotty wifi from the other, forcing me to switch from ubuntu to WinXP to get anything close to consistent performance. This year the wifi in my 6 month old Lenovo X200 just stopped working Thursday for no apparent reason, forcing me to surf by Blackberry for the past 3 days. Worse, I discovered that the Gmail app for Blackberry can't use wifi, so I'm stuck checking mail in the BB browser or paying roaming fees. Not cool, Google, not cool.

Beyond the actual talks - and there were several excellent sessions, including...

  • the first keynote (I missed the second one helping Rob set up my Thinkpad to do his WTP 3.1 demo as his hard drive was foo'd, and slept thru the third one),
  • the p2 & PDE sessions, showing that these projects are alive, well, and still moving forward
  • the Intro to JBDS 2.0 hands-on workshop with Jim and Rayme
  • this year's update on COLA, ECF, and shared editing
  • Koen's talk about the BPMN jungle

...for me EclipseCon is about connecting with people, putting faces to names and having a beer and a chat with someone you've worked with virtually. There are too many people to list, of course, but one highlight includes being able to thank Doug Satchwell in person for ShellEd. If you write bash, and you use Eclipse, chances are you use one of the various vi/vim plugins, EclipseColorer, or ShellEd. Three guesses which one I'd recommend. (If I promised you a pint at some point this year but failed to deliver this week, my apologies. Post a comment below or email me and I'll try to do a better job next year.)

I also enjoyed chatting up Oisin about STP and BPMN and expect to find myself helping out there in future w/ builds and testing, as I had occasion to do last year as we all put the finishing touches on Ganymede. Kudos too for his always entertaining tweets.

Finally, the greatest highlight - and honor - was of course being voted Top Ambassador by you, the community, placing me shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Mik Kersten and Tom Schindl, each great ambassadors for Eclipse as well. Thank you all for your support. I hope I can continue to entertain via this blog, educate via the Eclipse wiki, and facilitate via Dash your lives as committers, contributors, users, testers, early adopters, builders, and all the many other hats (Red or otherwise!) we get to wear in this wonderfully diverse ecosystem that is Eclipse.