Sunday, April 16, 2006

4 Years and 60 minutes

This week marks my four-year anniversary working on PDE, so this calls for a stroll down memory lane.

Instead of enumerating all the New and Noteworthy features that went into Eclipse over the past 4 years, I thought it would be more interesting to look back at my first PDE task.

Picture it. April 2002. The milestone was 2.0 M6. The most important problem du jour was to find a way to enable the user to create and run his first plug-in in less than 10 minutes. Our solution was to provide customizable templates for the platform's more popular extension points in the New Plug-in Project creation wizard.

The first template that I wrote was the XML editor template, which became the starting point for many fine editors including the Eclipse Ant editor.

During the 3.1 cycle, history repeated itself and enabing the user to create and run their first RCP application in a few minutes was a top priority. Enter the Hello RCP and RCP Mail templates.

Templates remain one of the most popular PDE features and we can never have too many templates. Continuing with the tradition, the inaugural task for every new member to the Toronto Eclipse team is to provide a new template. More recently, Shaun Skelton, of the Platform UI team, contributed a few templates and chronicled the process on his blog. Shaun is PDE's new best friend.

Of course, at some point during the past 4 years, I got old and turned 30. The first sign of old age was during a workout when I complained to the manager of my local gym that the place was too cold.

Another sign of old age is unwinding on Sunday nights by watching 60 minutes. In addition to the show's hypnotic ticking stopwatch, I enjoy Andy Rooney's social commentaries. I find his nihilistic pessimism to be very uplifting. One of my favourite Rooney commentaries is when he cleared the good name of the used-car business after he successfully tracked down his old Lexus.

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