Eclipse in Action by Eric Gamma:
This is the first talk I attended: Starting the conference with Eric Gamma was a great kick-off. Eric is a member of the gang of four, the author of best sellers like "Design Patterns" [ISBN: 0201633612], co-author (with Kent Beck) of [http://www.junit.org/], current employee of IBM in Zurich, and member of the architecture team of the Eclipse IDE.
the eclipse architecture:
He gave us an enlightening insight of the eclipse architecture. The eclipse architecture is based on a micro-kernel, everything in there is a plug-in, so it’s lightweight and extendable, replaceable.
the plug-in icebergs:
He emphasized on the plug-ins "lazy loading" strategy: All the plug-ins are lazy loaded and thus accessible at start up, but only the top of "plug-in icebergs" is loaded, i.e. the plug-in user visible appearance defined through standardized xml declarative definition (icon + action class).
It’s only once the user triggers an action on a specific plug-in icon that the action class is lazily instantiated using reflection.
We also attended a non "demo-effected" demo on how to develop an eclipse plug-in. I am convinced: developing a plug-in is pretty simple and straightforward ! In a few seconds he built a plug-in user-friendly showing all the shared images contained in the eclipse package.
Doing that He showed us a few tips and tricks (all of them are well documented in eclipse help menu "tips and tricks").
Not just an IDE: a platform
He went on presenting how eclipse and SWT can be used to develop rich client applications:
-the first example was a "hello world" type calculator he quickly implemented, As the eclipse IDE is made of plug-ins, any stuff can be disabled in the UI, (or you may obviously use eclipse and SWT to produce stand alone applications).
-the second example was a "Eclipse Trader", a set of plug-ins for the Eclipse RCP ( Rich Client Platform) dedicated to the building of an online stock trading system [http://eclipsetrader.sourceforge.net/].