I’ve been spending a lot of my time lately talking with organizations who are building Eclipse applications. Some are building IDEs based on Eclipse technology, others are building their end-user applications using Eclipse RCP. The main focus of these discussions is to try and figure out what sort of help these and similar organizations need to be successful incorporating Eclipse technology into their projects.
It seems that most of the folks that I’ve been talking with have opted to buy Eclipse talents rather than build them (that is, they hire developers with existing Eclipse skills). There is a group of talented Eclipse consultants who are doing quite well out there in the world based on this model. Unfortunately, it seems that this pool of fantastically skilled resources isn’t big enough to handle the demand for Eclipse development. So, what is an organization to do?
A few universities are using Eclipse, but primarily as a Java development environment; a smaller number actually do teach their students how to extend Eclipse. We’re working on getting more universities to at least make their students aware of Eclipse, but this will take a few years to propogate into the business space. Clearly, we need to train more software developers to work with Eclipse technologies.
As Doug pointed out earlier today, there is a relatively obscure services page on eclipse.org. I have been using this page to collect organizations that can help with building Eclipse skills. Some of these companies offer consulting services; many of them offer training. If your organization offers Eclipse services, I’d love to hear from you (either add a comment to this entry or send email to the only “wayne” at eclipse.org).
Most Eclipse training, it seems, is delivered in a in-house private format, but there have been some successes in offering courses open to the public. AvantSoft is delivering some public courses on Eclipse technology in the United States. Inoopract has schedule of public courses being offered in several European locations. If you’ve only got one or two developers who need to learn about building Eclipse plug-ins, this is an option worth considering.
There is also the Ecesis project which provides open-source courses (including presentation and lab materials) that can be used for Eclipse training. At present, there are three courses:
- Java Programming with Eclipse
- Two-Day Eclipse 3.1 Plug-in Development
- Model Driven Development
Curiously, it seems that most of the people I speak with have a preconceived notion that it’s somehow wrong to pay for Eclipse training (or training for any kind of open source software). I guess that we’re all getting used to free. The courses that Ecesis provides are free (subject to the EPL), and chances are that reasonably bright people should be able to get some real value from the materials all by themselves, but IMHO a course is far more valuable when delivered by a skilled instructor.
We’ve put together a “Training” working group to try and sort out what we can do to make learning how to build Eclipse applications easier. It’s still early, but hopefully we’ll have more to report before too long…