Obviously this is just MY opening salvo, and not THE opening salvo. Over the last several years, Boris and many others have posted several articles that address Web UIs in general, Web UIs in the Workbench and even Web UIs as the Workbench. Here are just a few:
- OpenSocial (iGoogle) gadgets in Eclipse
- Adventures into web UI land
- Embedding web UI components in Eclipse using e4
- Eclipse in the Cloud
- Is e4 a lemon?
- Can we turn e4 into an orange?
A common occurrence with these kinds of post is that the comments inevitably end up being a (heated) discussion about whether or not people want their Workbenches to be Web Apps. Some of the discussions even get down to the thin client vs fat client debate and whether we are racing back towards the 70’s when modern-day desktop computers can outperform servers of that era.
These are, I’m sure, very good questions. Certainly there are very smart people making very compelling arguments for both sides. Adding my voice to that debate isn’t going to help anyone.
The fact is that people — lots of them — are building Web UIs. Other people — lots of them — are building Eclipse based applications. And some of these people are combining the two and want to have a better, more consistent, user experience. Hopefully providing some tips and techniques, and a place to discuss the problems, requirements, solutions and implementation details, will help at least some people.
The next thing you should know is: I’m really not very smart. And I don’t mean, “I’m really not very smart” in the self-deprecating “I do brain surgery in my spare time” way. I mean it in the “frameworks confuse and scare me” way. I like simple things, and they like me (Hi Karen). And that is likely all you will ever see in these posts. Simple solutions for simple people. Or, more accurately, simple solutions for really smart people who need to get this stuff done so they can move on to more interesting/profitable/cool problems.
Over the next little while, with your help, I’m going to be trying to solve some of the Web UI Workbench integration issues I believe are important. I really WILL need your help to get that right. So far my career has been based around building IDEs for workstations and security stacks for embedded Java run times, so my domain knowledge in the Web UI space is limited. I’ll be making assumptions about what is important in this space and how people are organizing their Web UIs . Perhaps what I think is important really isn’t. Perhaps you’ve solved the same problem I’m discussing in a better way. Perhaps I’ll get a few things right. I’d like to hear about all of it.
Without your help there is no way I can be relevant or helpful. And I really do want to be helpful. Helping you ship products and be happy makes me happy. Win-win.
So please, comment the hell out of my posts. Let me know what you are doing with your Web UIs and what you would like to be able to do in the Workbench … but if you want to talk about the inherent merit of Web UIs vs. Workbench UIs or if Eclipse 3.x is better than e4 you will have to find someone smarter than me. I bet Boris or McQ would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading this content-free post. Now that the ground rules have been set …
Coming up soon: Intercepting Links