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 feedback.


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