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The thrill of migrating a mission-critical RCP-application to E4: lessons learned

Juergen Baier

Eclipse 4.0 (e4) · Short
Wednesday, 16:00, 25 minutes | Schubartsaal

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E4 brings a new set of technologies to the existing Eclipse platform which promise, among other things, an easier application-development or maintenance and a highly customizable and modern UI. Although these features are tempting to be used "asap", for existing mission-critical applications the point in time to migrate to such a young platform has to be considered carefully. On one hand are the new abilities and perspectives of the platform, on the other hand these features are quite new and may still carry limitations or flaws with them, which will be polished over time and ease a migration-process adopting a later version of E4. Our talk may here provide guidance to other companies and developers that consider a similar migration soon.

In this talk we will explain our motivation to migrate a for our company mission-critical RCP application to E4 and what we learned on that way. Using the compatibility layer we started with single-sourcing our codebase to be functional with both, Eclipse Helios and E4. The first important milestone was then to make all existing functionality and UI-elements available under E4 and its modeled workbench. From there on, we explored the features of the new platform in three different directions: First, we brought joy to our designer by allowing him to adjust the overall application-appearence based on the css. Secondly, we replaced our own event-system with the new EventBroker, which allows us now to react in a much more flexible way to user-interactions and model-changes. The third major topic was to decouple the different parts of our application by moving the access to the internal model from the previously used singletons to services.

For our audience we want to show the pitfalls we encountered on the migration to E4, demonstrate the advantages that were brought to us and thus justify taking the risk of early adopting the E4 platform.

Dr. Jürgen Baier is working at Correspond GmbH and is responsible for the development of the online-filemanager Fileship. He likes elegance, when it comes from simplicity. Therefore his technical interests include application-modeling, where the foundation of a fast and maintainable application is laid, as well as UI-design, where user experience comes into play.