Lots of custom views, editors, and perspectives; not so many commands

If you take a look at some of the recent reports generated from the usage data collector, you may notice that there are a lot of custom (i.e. not from eclipse.org) views, editors, and perspectives out there, but not so many custom commands.

This is merely my own observation based on what I see in the report (so reality might be different). What I expected to see was a lot more xxx entries (what we use to indicate data collected about non-org.eclipse.* bundles) in the commands table than appear in the others. I expect to see commands being invoked a heck of a lot more often than the various views, editors, and perspectives are opened. But I don’t.

I assume that most folks are running the usage data collector in their development environments (you’d have to explicitly include it in your RCP application’s configuration if you wanted to see it there), which seems to indicate that use of the command infrastructure is very low amongst tool developers working outside of eclipse.org projects.

The reason for this low penetration seems pretty clear to me: the command infrastructure is a little hard to get your brain around (plus it is “relatively new”). There certainly are a lot of questions about it on the various Eclipse newsgroups (like newcomer). From this data, I can see that (a) the Command infrastructure needs to be easier to use, (b) better documentation and examples are required, or (c) both. A small group of us spoke at EclipseCon about writing an article to fill the documentation gaps; or at least to try and bring as many of the pieces together into coherent whole. That effort has taken the form of Bug 223445. Unfortunately, the effort seems to have stalled (as if often the case after the initial excitement wanes). But new life will be breathed into the effort. Oh yes… new life.

The usage data collector is part of the Ganymede packages, so the data that we’re getting is—thus far—only from those early adopters who have been testing our milestone and release candidate builds. It’ll be interesting to see what other information we can glean as more users opt to provide their data.

FWIW, we are very careful to control the kind of data we’re collecting. First, we only capture the names of commands, views, editors, perspectives, and bundles; along with bundle versions. With each data upload, we also capture the country from which the upload occurred. We are not capturing anything of a personal nature. We do not, for example, capture IP addresses, file names, email addresses, the name of your dog, or any other such thing. Second, we are careful about what we report. We’re obfuscating the names of bundles, views, editors, and commands that do not originate from eclipse.org (we also don’t obfuscate the names from the Subclipse and ICU4J bundles).

So… tell me honestly: how do you feel about your Eclipse IDE capturing usage data?

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2 Responses to Lots of custom views, editors, and perspectives; not so many commands

  1. Lars Vogel says:

    I believe one of the reasons is that every introduction tutorial, e.g. at least the RCP ones, does not contain the command information. This is for example true for the Eclipse RCP book and also for my little RCP tutorial (http://www.vogella.de/articles/RichClientPlatform/article.htm).

    I’ll try to update my tutorial during the next days….

  2. Teddy Walker says:

    I think the command infrastructure is easy to use.

    But the best example for newcomers would be to migrate completely the Eclipse (IDE) Platform and JDT from old actions to the new command-contribution-framework.

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