Giving it some welly

Installer tool ‘Oomph’ proposed as Eclipse project

Lucy Carey

As part of the Eclipse Tool project, Oomph could provide a welcome boost to Eclipse IDE user experience.

IDE automation was a trending topic at last week’s
Eclipse Con North America, driven largely by a newly proposed
project: “Oomph”. As the
project proposal states, with each incremental power uplift, the
Eclipse IDE has become steadily more complex, forcing users to
tackle a veritable laundry list of tasks every time they want to
set up a fresh development environment. There’s a clear need for
solutions to tackle this, but at the same time, nobody wants to
‘bloat’ the platform with an influx of ‘fixes.’

Oomph has now been nominated as part of the Eclipse
Tool project, and will function as a multi-tasking installer and
updater for Eclipse development environments. Hopefully it will
also go some way towards helping to improve user experience in the
Eclipse IDE. It will do this in part through automating the
deployment and management of project-specific IDEs and workspaces,
as well as other repetitive tasks.

Tools for Oomph are packaged as “fine-grained
features” which are available on a pick-and-mix basis. Basic
building blocks for the project include EMF models for manipulating
Eclipse packages, specifying predicate-based logical sets of
projects, inducing dynamic working sets (driven by the predicates
model), and for describing IDE configurations.

With these building blocks as a foundation, Oomph
provides tools for a host of functionalities, ranging from
maintaining consistent project-specific settings across multiple
projects, to creating automatically updated dynamic working sets as
new projects are  added into the space, and an engine for
keeping an IDE consistent with its specified configuration.

Other useful additions include launch configuration
decorators, a context-sensitive manifest opener, a
copyright-consistency management, Git command-line integration, and
a launcher for platform-specific file explorers.

The tools developed to do this are grounded on EMF
(Eclipse Modelling Framework) components. Ultimately, the project
is expected to be integrated into the  annual Eclipse release
conveyor belt, and future developments will be steered by community


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