EclipseCon 2007 March 5-8, Santa Clara California

Task-focused programming with Mylar

Mik Kersten (University of British Columbia), Robert Elves (University of British Columbia)

· Long Talk

Tuesday, 11:10, 50 minutes | Great America Ballroom JK


Robert Elves

Mylar's task-focused interaction technology has changed the way that developers work. Current IDEs overload developers with tens of thousands of artifacts, meaning that we often spend more time searching, scrolling, and navigating than we do programming. Mylar focuses the entire UI of Eclipse to show only the information relevant to the task-at-hand. With Mylar, multi- tasking becomes effortless, and recalling previous work only takes a single click. In addition, Mylar's integrated task management facilities displace the cumbersome browser and email based mechanism of task tracking.

This talk will start with an overview of Mylar's task management features including features offline editing, background synchronizations and change notifications, and demonstrate how these work for repositories such as Bugzilla, JIRA, and Trac. Once your tasks are in Eclipse, Mylar provides support for automatically managing your task context as you work, an approach that has been validated to make programmers much more productive. Demonstrations of the tool will show you how to get the most out of Mylar's task context management when working with Java, plug-in, and web applications. Mylar's task context sharing and change set management will then be used to show Mylar can make the entire development team more productive by realigning interaction around tasks.

The second part of the talk will overview the extensibility of Mylar's three frameworks. The Tasks framework enables task repository providers to integrate with the rich editing facilities. The Context framework supports tool builders wanting to extend the task context model to different kinds of system artifacts. The monitor framework supports usability testing in the field. These frameworks will be overviewed for use in IDE, RCP, and server-side.

The talk will conclude with an outline of future directions for Mylar, and a glimpse of how task-focused interaction technology will affect knowledge work beyond the programming domain.

Mik Kersten is the lead of the Mylar project, and a committer on the AspectJ and AJDT projects. While working Xerox PARC Mik created the IDE support for AspectJ, and plug-ins for JBuilder, NetBeans, VisualStudio, and Emacs. He is now completing his PhD at the University of British Columbia, and focused on helping Eclipse reduce information overload by making the context of the tasks we work on explicit.

Rob Elves is a committer on the Mylar project responsible for maintaining and improving the Mylar Tasks Framework and Bugzilla Connector.

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