Eclipse Projects Gateway

It started as a bit of a weekend distraction, but turned into something a little more.

I’ve always thought that the Eclipse Projects Gateway page isn’t quite living up to its potential. It seems to me that our user and adopter community should be able to use this page to find out more about the various projects at Eclipse. The page is also looking a little long-in-the-tooth and I thought it could use a little bit of an upgrade. My work-in-progress is here. Keep in mind that it’s very early. Be kind.

Prototype Replacement for the Projects Gateway page

The first thing that you should notice is that the page design is clearly influenced by the Xtext-look that seems to be sweeping the landscape. With time, the buttons on the right will likely change. But the main focus of my attention has been the bottom of the page.

I’ve used a little JavaScript magic (with a lot of help from the YUI library) to make a mini project browser. As you click on projects, a short-summary of the project is generated. The hope is that I can make this into something that’s pretty usable and quick. Right now, most of the rendering is done using some PHP on the server, but I may consider moving the data to the browser and letting it do all the work. The hope is that this mini-summary is a little lighter weight than the project summary pages and therefore a little easier for users and adopters to browse. At least that’s the direction I think it’s heading.

One concern I have is that the tree structure probably only makes sense to people who already understand the Eclipse project structure. The initial list of top-level projects does very little to help new users and adopters find their way. I (we?) need to think of a better way to present this to the user. I’m thinking of a flat list populated initially with those projects that are either (a) the most active, or (b) have the most complete information available. Your comments are welcome.

One of the things that I’ve tried to do is to keep the implementation modular. I will likely turn this project browser (and the “Recent Activity” list) into Open Social gadgets that can be used inside the Eclipse Helios workbench. I think that’d be pretty cool. Right?

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5 Responses to Eclipse Projects Gateway

  1. love it.

    My only feedback is that the mini project browser should just show up in that center div that shows the project only be a collection of links is a bit wasteful. It would be nice if the summary info is on that page. To have quick links to the wiki, bugs, downloads, and forums from there is also useful, but I think that can be done using icons only to save a lot of space and provide room for some actual text.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to go through and get the elevator pitch from each of the projects in the context of how they fit in Eclipse? Just my .02

    Nice work, even if you do nothing more.

  2. Wayne Beaton says:

    “Elevator pitch” is what I have in mind. There’s already code there to include a description; the problem is that many of the projects have included descriptions that are too big to fit. Some education (and pruning) may be required. What I’m showing is a subset of what’s on the project summary page; I’m trying to restrict myself to only that information that’s interesting to users and adopters.

    Thanks for your feedback.

  3. Chris Aniszczyk says:

    I’m a fan of the new look. I don’t like the tree browser on the left though, but don’t have any advice to improve it atm.

  4. Denis Roy says:

    I’m loving where this is going.

  5. Daniel says:

    Looks promising. Could you add a search-field or something like that? Because with the old layout I could do a Ctrl + F if I know what I’m looking for but not where to find it.
    Maybe you could add the “Releases” (last and upcoming) info to your short-summary.

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