Post-EclipseCon Europe 2016 impressions

EclipseCon Europe at a glance

Dominik Mohilo
The solar eclipse of the planet earth image via Shutterstock

EclipseCon Europe 2016 has come to an end but impressions about the announcements, plans and discussions have just begun to emerge. We invited two speakers and one participant to share their experiences with us.

Torkild Ulvøy Resheim: “EclipseCon Europe is the community highlight”

Apart from being the largest Eclipse event of the year, EclipseCon Europe is in my experience also the community highlight. This year’s event was no exception. The conference is growing slowly and there was a record number of 619 visitors. There was also a record number of submissions to the program committee. Apart from the usual excellent sessions, at the most divided over nine tracks, there was also a bit of fun. The Kahoot Quiz was a good opportunity to prove your trivia skills – and the Club ECE with the ever excellent Cool Down band was the opportunity to exercise those dancing feet.

For the second year, EclipseCon Europe hosted an unconference. The goal of this is to get the members of the various working groups together and have face-to-face meetings. Since I am a member of the Science Working Group, it was only natural that I took part in that. Just over a week ago, the Science Working Group had it’s first coordinated software release so this was a good opportunity to discuss our experiences. We’re also starting a new top-level project (simply called «Science») so that was another thing we had to talk about. As usual, on these occasions, we have a few demonstrations where we show off various software built on top of Eclipse. I think the most impressive one this time was Ian Mayo’s naval tactics analytical tool Debrief. All in all, it was a really good day.

Overview

After the unconference day, there were tutorials while some of us attended the members meeting. This is the foundation staff’s opportunity to talk to member organizations. Here Tracy Miranda did a presentation on diversity in tech communities and there were a follow-up talk and BoF-session in the evening to discuss what can be done to improve the situation in the Eclipse community. I think this is a great initiative but it cannot be done by a handful of people, it’s a community effort, so here everyone must do their share.

The first keynote by Stephen Carver gave good insight into what can happen when communication breaks down in an organization. The example was NASA and the reasons for the Challenger and Columbia accidents. It was really well-presented and judging by the buzz, it was clear that this was a highly enjoyable keynote. There were a few other keynotes. However, I have to admit that the last keynote was my absolute favorite. The title Observation of Gravitational Waves from Binary Black Hole Mergers – Dawn of a New Astronomy says a lot and Benno Willke made it all sound pretty straightforward. What was not mentioned in the keynote is that the LIGO experiments detecting the gravitational waves are using Control System Studio, an Eclipse RCP application to control the hardware.

Tracy Miranda: “At EclipseCon this year I heard the sound of the universe”

At EclipseCon 2016 I heard the sound of the universe. And it was awesome and breathtaking. To be precise, it was the sound of two black holes colliding over a billion years ago,  part of the enthralling final keynote from Dr. Benno Wilke on detecting gravitational waves. It was a fitting way to end a conference that had kicked off with another amazing keynote:  Stephen Carver delivering a powerful and emotional story of the people and tech behind the space shuttle disasters, framed in profound lessons on real communication and avoiding silo thinking.

For the very first time at EclipseCon Europe, we held a CDT summit. Over 10 years ago I had the honor of being the first developer from Europe involved in CDT, so to bring the summit to Europe was a particularly special moment for me, especially with our renowned project co-lead Doug Schaefer in attendance. The summit was a success, particularly welcoming contributors from the wider community into the fold, and will definitely something we will be doing again next year.

Overview

This year there was also a big community focus on diversity and raising awareness on this topic. The activity included my talk on 7 Habits of Highly Diverse Communities, addressing the board and members meeting on the topic as well as a diversity birds-of-a-feather session. The discussions were great, lots of good energy, practical suggestions and I am so proud to see the community work together to ensure we can be as open and inclusive as possible.

The Science Working Group had good reason to celebrate at the conference: we have just completed our very first simultaneous release of five projects. A significant milestone for this nascent group, and was terrific to talk about the projects to the rest of the community.

Language servers, Xtext, Sirius, scripting, IoT, and testing were topics that kept coming up. On a personal level, it was my most intense EclipseCon yet with three talks, a BOF and a summit to organize. On the whole, it was the busiest conference yet with a record attendance of 619. The most important thing is always the people: lots of new and old friends to talk to and exchange energy.

Cédric Brun: “Eclipse is way more than just the Eclipse IDE”

From an Eclipse Modeling perspective, we had highly positive feedback about Sirius, things like “I really love it” or “It makes me build so quickly!” That’s the first time since the project got created three years ago that I had so many of those. I also enjoy the group we are forming (the program committee, the architecture council, various leaders…) which works fairly well and that’s visible in the conference.

Things settled around the idea that Eclipse is way more than just the Eclipse IDE and that it is also now providing several distinct IDEs! Now that this idea is out and understood at large, more collaboration is actually happening.

Author
Dominik Mohilo
Dominik Mohilo studied German and sociology at the Frankfurt University, and works at S&S Media since 2015.

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