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Visualization in the Eclipse SDK

After talking to a few people (while imbibing some beers) and hearing Jeff Norris at the BlueSky BOF complain about how hard it is to visualize dependencies in RCP projects… I realized that in the base Eclipse SDK, we lack a fundamental and easy way for people to create visualizations (think Java2D). I think this is part of the reason we don’t see more visualization in Eclipse.

In PDE, we have an incubator currently setup where we (thanks Ian!) are working on some visualization tools. The technology that we use to make this happen is called Zest. You can think of Zest as a lightweight MVC type wrapper on top of Draw2D (similar to how JFace operates on top of SWT). With Zest, you simply bring your model and work with the familiar constructs of content and label providers. I mean, it’s really easy to come up with a graphical editor (I will post a simple example in a future blog entry).

What do people think? Do we need to strive to push this type of functionality into the SDK so more people will be able to use it without having to download some add-ins? If so, let’s file a bug and discuss it.

  • Litrik

    +1

    If you create the bug it’ll get my vote right away.

  • Litrik

    +1If you create the bug it’ll get my vote right away.

  • Tassos Bassoukos

    Um, desn’t the GEF project already provide that?

  • Tassos Bassoukos

    Um, desn’t the GEF project already provide that?

  • Chris Aniszczyk (zx)

    Yes, but GEF isn’t in the Eclipse SDK directly, so projects like PDE can’t use it directly.

  • Chris Aniszczyk (zx)

    Yes, but GEF isn’t in the Eclipse SDK directly, so projects like PDE can’t use it directly.

  • Del Myers

    The difference between GEF and Zest is that Zest follows JFace patterns of content and label providers instead of creating graphical editors element by element.

    Del

  • Del Myers

    The difference between GEF and Zest is that Zest follows JFace patterns of content and label providers instead of creating graphical editors element by element.Del

  • Dejan Glozic

    I like the focus in subtrees very much – it cuts through the dependency graph complexity very effectively.

  • Dejan Glozic

    I like the focus in subtrees very much – it cuts through the dependency graph complexity very effectively.

  • Jeff Norris

    Thanks for pointing Zest out to me, Chris – I’m going to have a look at it. Unsurprisingly, I *do* feel that some kind of dependency graph visualization belongs in PDE, but I’m not terribly bothered by the idea of having to download some extra plugins to get this capability.

  • Jeff Norris

    Thanks for pointing Zest out to me, Chris – I’m going to have a look at it. Unsurprisingly, I *do* feel that some kind of dependency graph visualization belongs in PDE, but I’m not terribly bothered by the idea of having to download some extra plugins to get this capability.

  • Mikkel

    Could you tell me if the viewer for that screen shot is available anywhere, the zest page at eclipse shows it but does not tell you where or if its available… I agree it belongs in the PDE… hope to see it soon šŸ˜€

  • Mikkel

    Could you tell me if the viewer for that screen shot is available anywhere, the zest page at eclipse shows it but does not tell you where or if its available… I agree it belongs in the PDE… hope to see it soon šŸ˜€