In Using ECF for Lightweight Distributed Team Collaboration
Scott Lewis (BEA Systems), started by stating the goals of the Eclipse Communication Framework (ECF) project: to “lower barriers to team and community communication by providing [an] interoperable, integrated, extensible framework”.
Scott spoke of team productivity. Specifically, he talked a book by Scott E. Page, “The Difference” that explains how “diversity trumps ability”. The gist of the discussion is that a distributed group of motivated people with varying skills and ability can outperform a group of people who are (merely) highly skilled (yet not diverse in background, skills, and ability). Productivity was presented as motivation for the team collaboration tools provided by ECF.
Scott showed off how ECF can be used to hook into IRC channels using a view inside Eclipse. The then showed how more private communication between developers is possible. Using workspace collaboration, developers can open shared editors and work together on the same file in a totally distributed fashion. Scott also demonstrated sending screen shot, communication via IM and Skype (there’s an implementation of VOIP that uses Jingle under development) and file transfers. Scott says that there’s also some Mylyn integration which allows task contexts to be shared via IM. Many different forms of communication are supported. I believe that Scott was using XMPP for the demonstration, but GoogleTalk and other protocols are also supported.
Markus Kuppe stepped into show off the discovery APIs; these APIs enable ECF to find services. Scott then showed off the Service Discovery view (shown to the right) which showed the services exposed by all the systems connected to the EclipseCon wireless network (which, frankly, was a lot). I liked it when Scott found a box sporting an Eclipse update site, and—with a single right-click of the mouse on that update site—he opened the Update Manager and added the update site to the list. It’s no surprise that some of this technology will find its way into the new “p2” provisioning solution being built by the Equinox project.
For kicks, I’ve shown what the Service Discovery view found around me (using the version of ECF found on the Ganymede update site). There sure are a lot of iPhones connected to the EclipseCon network…
Update: with apologies to Markus Kuppe, I have corrected the previous misspelling of his name.