I went to an interesting talk tonight by Christian Weyer, where he described some of the upcoming features in Visual Studio, namely Software Factories. Software Factories allow you to customize and extend Visual Studio much more easily than before, so you can bundle together things like wizards, context sensitive menu actions, code generation etc. The slides from the event are available here.
Being the good Java-devotee that I am (I’m not religious about it or anything, they pay me to care 🙂 ), I of course pointed out that this is, in many ways, very similar to Eclipse perspectives, which also allow you to easily (“easily” being relative of course) extend an Eclipse rich client application with organised packages of code in Plugins and Features. These plugins and features are used to do everything in Eclipse applications, like wizards, context sensitive menu actions, code generation etc (seeing a pattern here?).
As I promised to Christian and others, here are some useful links to Eclipse documentation on this subject:
- This is the basic, high level description of Eclipse perspectives, more from a users point of view than a developers.
- Eclipse Rich Client tutorials Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Part 2 is where it describes Perspectives best.
- A book, in German (for you Christian 😉 ), on the Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP).
- A screencast on Eclipse RCP application development. All RCP applications are based on Perspectives.
- And finally, a plug, my RedPaper called “IBM Workplace Managed Client: ISV Integration Guide“, which describes a number of different methods of writing Eclipse RCP applications based on the IBM Workplace Managed Client application. (It’s really good, honest!). Much of the practices and technology described in this paper are used in the upcoming Lotus Notes release, codename Hannover.
All in all, it was a very good talk, with a packed room. It’s just a pity there wasn’t a screening of Blade Runner in a private cinema, like the last time I saw Christian present, in 2004. I guess we were a bit spoiled that time!