I’ve been using Mylar for about two weeks and I’m still really impressed. I have been doing some Java development these past weeks, but most of my work has involved editing PHP files and triaging Eclipse Corner Articles bugzilla entries. I’ve been doing it all with Mylar.
The first thing I did was create a task repository for the Eclipse Bugzilla. Then, I created a handful of queries to find bugs that I need to concentrate on. These queries result in the associated bugs being loaded by Mylar as tasks into my Eclipse 3.2.1 environment. Once loaded I read and edited them—all within an editor in my environment—by adding comments and such. This feature alone is great; while the web UI for bugzilla isn’t bad, the Eclipse-based UI is great. And it works offline as well (which was handy when my Internet connection died during the ice storm on Friday).
There were a couple of Phoenix bugs that I needed to address. For each, I first activated the task, and then went to the package explorer to find the PHP files that needed to be updated. In order to find the files, I decided to turn off the “Focus on task” feature that Mylar provides. However, once I had opened the files that I needed, I turned the feature right back on which immediately filtered the list of files shown to those that I had identified. My workspace contains dozens of projects and hundreds of files; being able to focus (automagically) only on those files I care about is very handy. I did my edits and then selected “Commit Context…” from the context menu for task; this opens the commit wizard for only those files I changed while working on the active task. Very handy. And to boot, Mylar automatically provided me with a comment that reflects the id of the bug I was fixing. Also very handy.
This feature scales very well when you have to work on multiple tasks. At several points, I was working on two tasks at the same time (it was more a process of interleaving tasks). Mylar kept track of the PHP files I was editing for each of the tasks separately, and when I needed to commit changes back to CVS, only the files that had been changed as part of the task I was committing were involved. This is very handy for folks like me with a short attention span.
I’ve only been able to do a small amount of Java development this past week, and Mylar has been helpful there as well. The JDT provides great support for linking from one Java file to another (with the PHP files, I had to go and actually find other files using the Navigator or Project Explorer); with the JDT, you need only put your cursor on a definition and hit ‘F3’ to be taken to another class or method. Mylar takes care of adding classes and their members to the filtered views. It’s really cool to see classes and methods melt off the view as you lose interest in them. Mylar also takes care of automatically figuring out the methods that I care about and folding away the rest. I’ll admit that it all was a little weird at first, but it’s becoming very familiar and comfortable.
Anybody who’s worried about lack of innovation at Eclipse really needs to check out this project.