Eclipse Scout Roadmap 2016

For the 2016 release of the Scout framework we will introduce two significant changes. These changes address major pain points we have suffered from in the past. As the scope of the two changes is substantially larger than in previous releases, we would like to start talking about them well ahead of time. So remember in the text below that this is a blog about the future of Eclipse Scout scheduled for 2016, not about the upcoming Mars release.

The first change is driven by our vision of the future of UI technologies for business applications. The second change addresses the need of our customers and BSI that Scout applications should be easy to integrate in a Java EE or Spring based environment. In the text below we will discuss these two changes individually. Read the rest of this entry »

Scout Adopters we didn’t know about.

At BSI (the company behind the Scout Framework) we have recently discussed our knowledge about the community of Eclipse Scout users and found that it is too limited. This was one of the lessons we learned from our first Scout User Group Meeting. For this meeting we have invited our Scout customers and colleagues. By customer we mean individuals from companies that have paid for services in relation to Scout (consulting, trainings, change requests, project bootstrap, …). And by colleague we mean people we already met (at conferences or democamps) that where doing something with Scout. This get together was important, informative and supported the networking between customers/contacts. However, we found that the real challenge is to contact and learn from Scout adopters that we do not know (yet). Read the rest of this entry »

A new Scout Widget Application

Since quite some time we had our old Scout widget application to demonstrate most of the Scout widgets that are available out of the box in the Eclipse Scout package available on the Eclipse download site.

This old widget application has historically grown over time and includes many special that have been added to demonstrate and fix bugs or features. While starting to document the individual Scout widgets we found that a renewal would help to better showcase the typical usage patters for the different widgets and also highlight the most frequently used configuration options. As a result, the old widget application has been rewritten accordingly.

The client only application is organized into separate outlines for thematic groups of widgets. Each of the application’s outline then presents a list of widgets in a navigation tree. This is shown below for the Simple Widgets outline that contains examples for simple UI widgets such as label fields or string fields.

For each UI widget a corresponding example form presents a number of typical use cases and configuration options. The example forms are designed to be independent from each other. It should therefore be possible to read and understand the source code of each example form with minimal effort. Via the Open in Dialog … context menu the content of the view is displayed in a modal scout form. As shown below, the complete source code for the selected form can be accessed via the View Source on GitHub context menu.


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HTML & Diff & normalization with JSoup

We are working on an Eclipse help document for the Eclipse Scout project. Our vision is to re-use content from the existing Scout book where possible. For this, we want to be able to share text modules between the two documents. In order to do so, I am currently working on the setup of each document and I am extracting some existing text into independent modules.

The difficulty of this task is that you should not break anything in the existing documents. Manual review of hundreds of pages was out of question, so I came up with the idea of doing a diff on the HTML between 2 versions (before and after the refactoring).
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Generating Eclipse Help from existing HTML Documentation

Creating a Eclipse Help bundle for the Eclipse IDE is simple. You only need three things:

  • Some HTML content (one or several pages)
  • A specific XML file describing the “Table of content” (a toc file)
  • An entry to contribute to the org.eclipse.help.toc extension point.

If you do not know how to start, you can use the “Plug-in with sample help content” template when you create you new plug-in Project.

New Plugin Project Wizard - Template: Plug-in with sample help content

The painful aspect of the work is manually keeping the XML toc file in sync with your existing HTML documents (i.e. the output of your documentation tool). Luckily, there are tools that help to reduce substantially this pain.

Read the rest of this entry »

Multi Column SmartField

During the Scout User Group Meeting each participant has presented how he was using Eclipse Scout. It was nice to see that many of them were already using a new feature introduced with Luna: Multi-Column SmartField.

Scout Multi-Column SmartField

SmartField to select a position in the Swiss train network.

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Why should I contribute?

One of the opening slides of our “Eclipse Scout Contributor” training looks like this:


There is nothing new in this slide. It just re-states an aspect of the open-source mechanic.

In our opinion the benefits of contributing to open source is often not fully understood. That is why we would like to share some of our thoughts.
Read the rest of this entry »

Eclipse Scout User Group Meeting

Prior to the great Eclipsecon Europe we had our first Scout User Group Meeting. It was very interesting to see in which ways different business applications are either newly created with Eclipse Scout or migrated to Scout from various legacy applications.

A recurring subject was the combination of Scout and Spring (Special thanks to Kasten Thoms form Itemis for his related Blog Post).





As indicated by the impressions above, we had a good time and based on the participants feedback, we will most likely organize such an again next year too. For this we are investigating if it is possible to do this as part of next year’s Unconference before the Eclipsecon Europe 2015. Thanks Ralph for suggesting this :-)

Scout Links

Project Home, Forum, Wiki, Twitter

Eclipse Icons for your Presentations

I am giving a lot of trainings lately. Some of them are for our co-workers at BSI (topics around Java and Eclipse). And some of them for external clients, mostly related to the Eclipse Scout framework.

For these trainings, I often have to prepare slides on short notice. As an example, the slide below explains the location of the tests in an Eclipse Scout RT project:

Where are the tests?

Frequently, a lot of icons representing the Eclipse IDE elements are needed in such slides. Unfortunately the icons of the IDE itself are too small (16×16 pixels) to be used on the slides, but luckily I found this page (UI Graphics > Design > Common Elements > Wizard elements) on the Eclipse wiki. This page also contains an Adobe Illustrator file including the wizard Icons. And those icons are exactly what I needed for my slides. From this Illustrator file, I could extract all icons with or without background and save them into individual files for both PNG and SVG formats.

Wizard icons

I checked with the Eclipse Foundation and got an answer from Mike Milinkovich: the icons I have created are licensed under EPL because they are a derivated work of the original file.

Hoping that this exercise may be useful to others, I have made my code and approach available on GitHub: common_wizard_elements (or just download the common_wizard_elements.zip to get the SVG and PNG files).

Disclaimer: I am not a graphic designer and I have limited knowledge of the SVG file format. Feel free to give me feedback (as comment on this blog or on the GitHub project).

And just in case: should you be interested in Eclipse Scout trainings, please let us know.

Scout Links

Project Home, Forum, Wiki, Twitter

In 2 weeks EclipseCon Europe 2014 will be over

We will be at the EclipseCon Europe 2014 in two weeks.

Come and meet us at booth #10:
ECE - Eclipse Scout - Booth 10

We are looking forward to meeting you and discussing about your experiences with Eclipse Scout.

Scout Links

Project Home, Forum, Wiki, Twitter