Archive for the ‘Mylyn’ Category

Tasktop Dev 3.5 and Mylyn 3.11 Released

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Tasktop Dev 3.5 and Mylyn 3.11 are now available. These releases include some cool new features that result from the combined efforts of many people in the Mylyn community and at Tasktop.

Speaking as a Tasktop Dev and Mylyn user, I am already loving the new support for finding text in the task editor. It was originally contributed to Mylyn Incubator a few years ago, but unfortunately the implementation suffered from serious performance problems. Recently I had the pleasure of supervising a Co-op student at Tasktop, Lily Guo, as she reimplemented it with dramatically better performance and improved the UI. Thanks to her efforts this very useful feature is now released and the task editor supports searching for text within the comments, description, summary, and private notes.

Screnshot of Find in the Task Editor

Another long-awaited feature in this release is task-based breakpoint management, which extends the concept of task context to include Java breakpoints. This was implemented as part of a Google Summer of Code project by Sebastian Schmidt, a graduate student at Technical University Munich. It provides several important benefits for Java developers. First, the debugger will not stop at breakpoints that aren’t related to the active task. Second, only breakpoints created while the task was active will appear in the IDE – when working on a task, the breakpoints view and Java editors are no longer cluttered with dozens of irrelevant breakpoints. Because the breakpoints related to a task are only present while that task is active, there is no need to delete or disable these breakpoints – which often contain valuable information such as which lines of code and which runtime conditions trigger a defect – when a task is complete. Finally, breakpoints can be shared with other developers as part of task context.

Screenshot of the context preview page showing breakpoints in the context

In a single view, the Hudson/Jenkins connector provides quick access to status information about selected builds across multiple build servers, even when you are offline. This includes information about build status, build stability, and test failures. But one thing I realized was missing was a quick summary of how many builds are passing, unstable, and failing. This information is now displayed at the top of the Builds view and, when the view is minimized, in a tooltip, making it really easy to tell when there’s a change in the number of failing or unstable builds.

Screenshot of builds view showing summary of build statuses

This release also includes a number of bug fixes and enhancements to the Gerrit connector. Among them are support for comparing images, buttons for navigating to the next/previous inline comment in the compare editor, and a code review dashboard that lets you see which of your changes have been reviewed and whether they have passing or failing builds. The connector also remembers your previous votes on a patch set, so that posting additional comments doesn’t reset your vote. Thanks to Jacques Bouthillier and Guy Perron from Ericsson for their work on comment navigation and the dashboard.

Screenshot of the Code Review Dashboard

To help you prioritize the tasks you are responsible for, a “Show only my tasks” filter has been added to the task list, and the tooltip uses the gold person icon to accentuate those tasks.

Screenshot of the task list showing the new filter button

Tasktop Dev 3.5 is built on Mylyn 3.11, including all of the above features. This release includes a number of bug fixes as well as support for VersionOne 2013. We have also upgraded Tasktop Dev for Visual Studio to support Visual Studio 2013, bringing the benefits of a unified task list to users of that IDE.

For more information, see Tasktop Dev New & Noteworthy and Mylyn New & Noteworthy, or try out Tasktop Dev and Mylyn for yourself.

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Mylyn 3.10 Released

Monday, November 18th, 2013

We are happy to announce that Mylyn 3.10 has been released. This release includes a number of enhancements to improve the user experience as well as support for the latest versions of Gerrit and Hudson.

In June, Eclipse upgraded to Gerrit 2.6 in order to support a new, more streamlined IP process. This makes it much easier for committers to accept contributions to Eclipse. Unfortunately, the Gerrit connector did not support Gerrit 2.6 at that time, so Eclipse contributors had to use the Gerrit web UI. Thanks to the efforts of Tomasz Zarna and others, we were able to support Gerrit 2.6 in a service release, Mylyn 3.9.1, which was released as part of Kepler SR1. Mylyn 3.10 includes this support for Gerrit 2.6 and also supports Gerrit 2.7.

In Mylyn 3.10, we released some enhancements to the task list and task editor, including addressing some shortcomings that have bothered me personally for a long time. To improve the initial experience for new Mylyn users on Windows, by default, attachments are now opened with the Eclipse editor for that file type if one is present, or with the system editor if not, instead of opening in a web browser. This removes an unnecessary and annoying window switch and browser prompt. Without needing to configure anything, you can open attachments without leaving the IDE.

On many occasions, I have marked a task read and then immediately regretted it. Sometimes I’ve even marked several incoming tasks or a whole query read, and then realized I should have looked at the incomings more carefully first. Until now, there was no way of knowing which tasks I had marked read, meaning that I would never know what incomings I had missed. Now, I’ll be able to easily undo marking the tasks read by using the standard undo/redo mechanism.

I like to think of user interface design as a delicate balance of providing useful information and affordances without creating clutter or overwhelming users. Unfortunately, this means saying “no” to a lot of cool ideas. But one of the great things about working on an open source project is that anyone can voice their opinions, and it really does help to determine which features get released. After some debate on bugs and code reviews, some important information has been added to the task list and task editor to make it more readily available:

At the top of the task editor, just below the summary, the date of the last comment is displayed, allowing users to quickly judge the relevance of the task without scrolling down to the end of the comments.
The task list decorates tasks that have private notes with a yellow pencil icon, so that you don’t need to open the task editor to find out if there are notes.
The task list tooltip now indicates how many incoming and outgoing tasks each query or date bin contains.

In addition to supporting Hudson 3.1, the Hudson/Jenkins connector now allows you to quickly open a build in the web UI if you need information that is not available through the connector. When clicking a link to a build, the build editor opens immediately while the build is downloaded in the background. Users can click the “Open with Web Browser” button in the toolbar to access the Hudson/Jenkins web UI.

Finally, I think heavy Gerrit users will really appreciate this small change: when adding an inline comment to a review, it’s now possible to resize the dialog, and to select text in the compare editor and copy it without having to close the dialog and discard your comment.

You can find more information about the Mylyn 3.10 release in the New & Noteworthy. You can get the release here.

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Mylyn 3.9: Improved Code Review Tooling

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Two years ago I claimed that contributing to Eclipse is a tedious process and I’m happy to say that this no longer holds true. The migration from CVS to Git last year and the adoption of Gerrit for code reviews by many Eclipse projects, combined with the arrival of contributor license agreements (CLAs), has made it incredibly easy to contribute to Eclipse.

Gerrit is great news for contributors since anyone with an Eclipse.org account can now propose changes as Git commits. It’s no longer necessary to attach patches in Bugzilla; changes can be pushed directly to Gerrit. In Gerrit it’s easy to work with the changes and, if the CLA has been signed, merging contributed changes only takes committers a few clicks.

I have highlighted in previous posts how the Mylyn Gerrit Connector integrates code reviews in the IDE. When Eclipse.org added CLAs and upgraded to Gerrit 2.6 (which the Mylyn connector didn’t support at the time), I realized how much I rely on the seamless Eclipse integration. Thanks to Tomasz Zarna contributed over 20 changes and didn’t shy away from using the browser Gerrit 2.6 is now supported in the latest Mylyn service release and will soon be available as part of Kepler SR1.

In addition to supporting the latest Gerrit, Bugzilla and Hudson version, Mylyn, and the Gerrit the connector in particular, have seen a number of improvements in the last major release. The code review editors are now complemented by a Review navigator. The navigator view shows all comments in a structured view that simplifies keeping track of parallel discussion streams as code review progress.

Global comments are now embedded in the review editor, with support for spell checking, and comments can be saved as drafts and edited offline. Conveniently, the editor now also supports all patch set operations including rebase.

The Mylyn New & Noteworthy has an overview of all enhancements in the latest release which is available here.

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Deep inside an Eclipse Hackathon, where the future Eclipse submitters are born

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Eclipse Hackathon 2012 A room full of developers and students, cans of beer loosely scattered around the room, along with bags of chips, pop and pizza. It’s a setup that would make more sense for a party, were it not for everyone clustering around power cords and loud finger tapping of engineers ripping up their laptops.

Sticking to traditional hackathon culture, there was a whole lot of coding, lots of beer, and happy chit chat mixed with serious faces betraying some heavy problem solving, in a word: hackathon-fun!

Eclipse Hackathon 2012

In attendence: several experienced Eclipse submitters, students from SFU and UBC, and other Eclipse enthusiasts. Projects hacked on: JDT UI, Scripted, Orion and Mylyn (for project details see the wiki page).

Eclipse Hackathon 2012It was great to have Ian Skerrett from the Eclipse Foundataion attend and hack away with all the others. Great many ideas were thrown around and many a bug got fixed. Newbies got to learn a lot about Gerrit & Mylyn and how to contribute to open source. Thanx to all who attended and made the night that much better!

See more photos from the event.

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ALM analyst panel at EclipseCon 2012 with Dave West, Melinda Ballou, James Governor and Mik

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

At this year’s Agile ALM Connect sub-conference of EclipseCon 2012 Mik Kersten moderated a very lively analyst panel with a few of the leading analysts in ALM: Melinda Ballou of IDC, James Governor of RedMonk and Dave West (then at Forrester). Enjoy.

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Tasktop 2.4 released, requirements rejoice

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

In Total Quality Management, the 1-10-100 rule states that prevention is 10x cheaper than correction, and 100x cheaper than failure in the field. We usually apply this principle to our thinking around defects and as a driver for continuous delivery and feedback loops. However, in much of the Agile discourse these days, the traditional requirement gets left behind.

Development has been transformed, from the bottom up by open source and inexpensive tools like JIRA, and from the project management level down by the Agile movement. But in large-scale software delivery involving very complex products and supply chains, requirements are the tasks that connect strategy to shipping software. The trouble is that the tools that we use for requirements management are completely disconnected from the modern Agile delivery process.

Consider a requirement to add a web service API to an app. Sounds great when expressed in Microsoft Word with direction from the CIO. After being passed to development, SOAP technology is selected on the merit of being present in other parts of the product line. A few developers comment on the corresponding user story that SOAP is inefficient and could cause serious CPU overhead, but both the business analysts (BAs) and the Ops folks are well out of the loop as they never log into JIRA where the discussion is happening. The solution is deployed, passes basic scalability tests, then after going into production it becomes clear that the SOAP solution will not scale to support the projected user base without a massive new infrastructure investment. So three months after the requirement was defined, the business analyst gets to realize all of this, learns a new acronym (REST) and another round of implementation is scheduled for the upcoming sprints. That’s the 100x cost scenario that we see all too often. Had the BA seen some of the comments in JIRA, a lot of waste could have been prevented.

This problem was partly addressed a decade ago with the Rational Unified Process (RUP), which created a homogenous Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) stack from requirements right down to development. But that approach constrained developers to the point where the Agile and lightweight ALM tool rebellion transformed the landscape. We now know that an efficient application lifecycle is capable of leveraging best-of-breed tools, with stakeholders such as Developers, Business Analysts, Project Managers and Testers working in the individual tools that make them most productive. Until today, only a few brittle point-to-point integrations existed between requirements management tools and the rest of the ALM stack. With today’s release of Tasktop Sync with integrations for IBM Rational Requirements Composer (RRC), IBM RequisitePro (ReqPro), CA Product Vision, and improvements to our existing integrations for HP ALM and QC Requirements Module as well as Accept 360, requirements are now a first class citizen that can span the lifecycle.

While the new support for sync’ing requirements is the biggest part of the story of our ongoing quest to connect the world of software delivery, there are many more highlights to the Tasktop 2.4 release, including major new features for ALM integration administrators such as a web dashboard for monitoring and IBM ClearQuest support. To learn more see:

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Mylyn 3.8 released as part of Eclipse Juno

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

We are happy to announce the availability of Mylyn 3.8 which was released as part of Eclipse Juno! This release includes new components for creating EPUB documents, Subclipse integration, user interface improvements and support for the latest Bugzilla, Hudson and Gerrit versions.



The Gerrit and Hudson connectors have come along way since we created the Mylyn Builds, Mylyn Reviews and Mylyn Versions projects two years ago, when Mylyn became a top-level project. I want to thank everyone who provided feedback in hundreds of Bugzilla tasks and helped evolve the connectors over three versions. With this release the APIs are reaching 1.0 and the projects have successfully graduated from Incubation status to mature projects.

To make these integrations that connect Eclipse to popular application lifecycle tools, available to a wider audience we added the Gerrit and Hudson connectors to several EPP packages. For instance, the RCP/RAP package now contains all components to complete a full Mylyn contribution cycle:

  1. Querying the Eclipse.org Bugzilla using Mylyn Tasks
  2. Activating a Bugzilla task using Mylyn Context
  3. Committing and pushing a change to Git using EGit and Mylyn Versions
  4. Monitoring the triggered build on the Eclipse.org Hudson using Mylyn Builds
  5. Completing the resulting Gerrit code review using Mylyn Reviews

I showed this at the Eclipse DemoCamp in Zurich and Java Forum Stuttgart and never left the IDE throughout the demo. It’s great to see the tooling coming together with the Eclipse 4.2 based Juno packages covering all key aspect of the development workflow out of the box.

The connector reference implementations that are part of Mylyn enable us to validate our own frameworks but feedback that we get from users and adopters building on the APIs is also incredibly valuable to drive development. I want to thank Kiu Leung for implementing an initial prototype of a Koji connector based on Mylyn Builds and Robert Munteanu for creating an integration for ReviewBoard based on Mylyn Reviews fueling the growth of the connector ecosystem.

Likewise, the number of Mylyn projects under the application lifecycle banner has been growing. The Model Focusing Tools project provides focus when working with models reducing information overload. The initial 0.9 release is part of Juno and contains connectors for EMF, GMF, Ecore Tools and UML. Manuel Bork and Carsten Reckord from Yatta Solutions recently published an article that provides a great overview of the underlying technology.

A lot has already been said about Mylyn Intent which brings documentation, code, models and other programming artifacts closer together: “Based on Donald Knuth’s Literate Programmingconcepts and allowing collaborative work around design tasks, Intent will try to reconcile developers with Documentation.” Through tight IDE and workflow integration, Intent ensures that code and documentation stay synchronized. Intent contributes its 0.7 release to Juno.

Vex, a visual editor for XML, is another quickly evolving project under Mylyn Docs which has been releasing milestones regularly. The tooling now supports XML schema and XHTML as well as basic rendering of images. Vex is not yet part of Juno but available from a separate update site and hopefully will join the coordinated release Kepler next year.

Last, but not least, there is Reviews for Eclipse (R4E) which is a project under Mylyn Reviews. R4E supports any artifact, including models, as a review source and has built-in capabilities to conduct formalized reviews that follow IEEE standards. The first 0.10 release was published shortly before Juno and R4E is now on its way towards graduation and joining Kepler.

It’s amazing to be part of the continuously growing Mylyn community and I would to thank all the individuals and companies that have contributed to this release.

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Tasktop Wins BC Technology Impact Award, more Tasktopians Wanted

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

And the winner for the category of Emerging Company of the Year at the British Columbia Technology Impact Awards is …. Tasktop Technologies!

Wow, just five years ago, all Tasktopians could fit into an office at the University of British Columbia, and last week, we were awarded in a very competitive category for a company that is past the startup stage and has shown outstanding performance as a technology enterprise, strong revenues, and is on track according to its business plan. Getting to this point has been possible because of the talent and passion for innovation that defines the people that are Tasktop. This group of people is able to both envision how software delivery can be done more effectively and iterate rapidly with customers to produce the products to make those visions real. It is truly a privilege to work with such a talented group! And just wait for what we will produce by the time Tasktop is six years old.

Congratulations go out to the other finalists for the Emerging Company of the Year: Recon Instruments, who makes some very cool heads-up display ski goggles, and ResponseTek, makers of mobile survey software. It is great be a part of such a strong and varied BC technology industry. Thanks also go out to the BC Technology Industry Association for hosting a wonderful gala night.

Our hiring is continuing at a rapid pace, so please contact us if you’re interested in joining a team that’s transforming how software is built.

Also see the video of the finalists in the Emerging Company of the Year category is .

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Towards Lean ALM, with Dave West on Board

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Every now and then you have a conversation that changes your view of the world. I’ve now had a dozen of those with one person, Dave West, in his role as Forrester analyst, VP, and Research Director. The common thread in our dialogue has been the need for application lifecycle glue that connects the software lifecycle stakeholders within the organization, as well as across the multi-company and increasingly open source based software supply ecosystem. Both of us realized that it would be more effective to make this vision a reality than to discuss it endlessly. So today, I’m thrilled to announce that we’ll be doing just that, with Dave West joining Tasktop as Chief Product Officer.

The very rapid growth that our products have seen lately is indicative of the need to look beyond any single tool in the evolving ALM stack, and consider the flow of information between the people that define the disciplines of the software lifecycle. Tasktop got to where we are today by placing a manic focus on the needs of the individual software developer, who was getting completely overloaded with the disconnected morass of ALM tools that failed to connect to the source code that defines delivery. That forced us to create a new model of social tasks that emphasized autonomy, transparency and integration across the increasingly diverse tool chain. With Tasktop Sync, our Task Federation has migrated from supporting Agile delivery on the developer’s desktop to connecting the rest of the software lifecycle in order to bring about a “Lean ALM”.

Driving a change in the way that software is built takes like-minded people filled with passion and purpose. Dave’s mission is to help people build software just a little bit better, and with our shared values, we expect that goal to materialize very quickly. In his role as an analyst, Dave has heard the software delivery needs and gaps of countless software organizations that build the products and services that we all rely on day-to-day. In his role as Chief Product Officer, responsible for transforming that need into our product vision and roadmap, you can expect Dave to accelerate our pace of customer-centric innovation even further as we work with our partners and open source community to connect the software lifecycle.

Read more in Dave’s post and Neelan’s post.

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EclipseCon keynote: The Future of ALM – Developing in the Social Code Graph

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

EclipseCon 2012 was my favorite to date, and I’ve been attending since the prototype—beers and demos at Thirsty Bear during JavaOne 2002. What made it so interesting was finally getting all the Eclipse devs in the same space as key folks from Agile and ALM. Developers are the engine of the software economy. But that engine is becoming part of such a complex ecosystem of vendors and open source that to scale software delivery, we need to break down organizational and departmental silos. We need to move towards what Forrester analyst Dave West has coined a Lean ALM. And that’s what my keynote was all about. Connecting devs to project managers, to testers, and eventually to @DEVOPS_BORAT.

Some have objected to my statement that Linus Torvalds’ bigger contribution to our planet is going to be Git, not Linux. Yes, Linux is everywhere. But Linux was a creative imitation, whereas I was focusing on the true innovations that are moving us towards the social code graph, and that’s precisely where Git fits in. Also, early in the talk I mention that Eclipse has gone from 1.5M to 2.5M downloads between January 2011 and January 2012. That’s monthly downloads, and with Vietnam surpassing Germany, a clear sign of the times.

Watch the keynote here, and I look forward to hearing your feedback and ideas.

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