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.