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And before you get too exercised, please read the post, date 9 Feb 2006, titled "All Tools Suck".

Saturday, September 02, 2006

XIRUSS-T Update: Eclipse Plug-in

Last Thursday I bought a copy of Eclipse: Building Commercial-Quality Plug-ins (2nd Edition) by Eric Clayberg and Dan Rubel with the goal of creating an Eclipse plug-in XIRUSS client. The book is very well written and authoritative and the Eclipse plug-in framework is a remarkable piece of work, both in its overall design for extension and integration and in its execution. It makes creating plug-ins remarkably easy (at least from a getting started standpoint) and the SWT/JFace libraries for user interface components feel more solid and logical than AWT (not that I have any particular basis on which to judge as I've done very little UI development over the years).

Anyway, I had to do some business travel over the weekend (tip: if you're going from Austin, Texas to Norwalk, CT, don't try to drive from Newark Airport--take the train) so I packed the book (which fortunately isn't enormous, just big) and made some progress.

As of this morning I have a very simple repository tree viewer that will reliably navigate the branch-snapshot-version structure of a running repository. The next step will be to make it sufficiently sophisticated to be an actual useful viewer, such as being able to refresh the view, doing filtering, and do sorting. Once I get that going then I can start adding actions to the tree, such as creating new mutable snapshots and committing them, using drag and drop to organize versions inside organizers, and so on. The next step after that (or possibly before that) is to implement a property page view that can show the properties of repository objects. Once that's in place, then I can start working on integrating editing from the repository, which shoudn't be too hard but at that point I'll be doing deeper integration with the Eclipse framework. If I understand the general Eclipse framework, I should eventually be able to hook the XIRUSS client into the Team infrastructure at which point any Ecplise-managed resource could be managed in XIRUSS more or less transparently, although I can't imagine that would be trivial.

I don't expect any of this to be hard but there are a lot of moving parts and a lot of details to attend to and things like listeners and event handlers that are somewhat outside my normal pipeline tree-walking data processing programming experience.

At work I've been put onto some high-visibility sales support activities which have the downside that I've less time and energy to spend on XIRUSS but the upside that I'm getting to push pretty hard on current XML content management and indexing tools. I've already reported on MarkLogic and my opinion has, if anything, only improved as I've worked more closely with the software and the folks at MarkLogic. I'm also learning and using XQuery for the first time, which is kind of fun (I simply had no need to use it up until now as XSLT and XPath did what I needed).

I realize that y'all realize that most of this XIRUSS status reporting is for my own benefit and that nobody's waiting breathlessly for me to get this code to a more usable state but I would be interested to know if anybody is either trying the code or otherwise tracking my progress. My main motivation is to get the code to a state such that when I start writing in detail about the versioned linking scenarios there will be running code that demonstrates the management functionality.

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