Friday, December 02, 2005

Red, Green, Refactor

A large portion of my computer time is spent with Eclipse, the Open-Source IDE.

Therefore, I was quite happy to attend today's Erich Gamma talk at ETH. He is a co-author of the Gang of Four book, and the JUnit testing suite. Currently, he works on Eclipse as a Distinguished Engineer at IBM.

The presentation was mainly about expanding Eclipse by writing plug-ins that expand Eclipse's functionality. I didn't realize that there are wizards for everything from writing the plug-in to their deployment. Finally, that explains to me why there are so many eclipse extensions out there on the web. Nicely done.

Next, Gamma showed off applications by writing applications on top of the Rich Client Platform, which is basically about taking Eclipse, kicking out all the stuff that deals with developing software, and using the framework for something completely different. For example, NASA uses an Eclipse-based tool for planning rover missions on Mars. Others have converted Eclipse into a stock trading application.

Overall, a very good talk. Erich Gamma seemed very down-to-earth and relaxed. Also, he's the only big-name CS person I've ever seen give live programming demos in front of a large audience.

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