Saturday, September 13, 2008

Eclipse RCP - First impressions

So here I am again :).
I have finished rewriting qOrganizer's database handling function.I cleaned up most of the saving/loading mechanism.It still needs some optimizations though, but it works and it is a lot faster.But don't get your hopes up.I didn't even dare to commit it to CVS yet.It's still really far from release.

I got a nice qSslChat patch from Sydney Troz, a user.Now qSslChat automatically recognizes and opens links.
I also received a Polish translation for qOrganizer.I fixed a huge bug that caused memory consumption to go wild when running qOrganizer on 64 bit systems.
I silently updated the release not long ago.The current version is 3.1-4.
qOrganizer is now on the verge of getting into Debian Lenny unstable.

During the last two days I decided to give Eclipse a try.I heard about it's famous Rich Client Platform and since it was constantly praised I thought I should seriously look into it.
The main atraction towards Eclipse RCP consists of the fact that it has a bussiness friendly license.Many small businesses use it to develop their own applications.Businesses which otherwise couldn't afford a .NET or a Qt license.
Eclipse was originally developed by IBM after which it was handed over to the Eclipse organization.I really like everything IBM :).Lotus Notes uses Eclipse RCP too.
It's good enough for NASA too.They used it in an application that processed data sent by the Spirit Mars rover.

About a year ago I already started to learn Eclipse RCP but I wasn't really motivated (since that was when I learned Qt too and I found it a lot more interesting) and the tutorial I found wasn't the best so I kind of gave up on it.But now I decided to look into it again.
I do like it very much.Every application is based on plugins.It's a very extensible and flexible framework.It gives code reusability paramount importance.Another big advantage is that it uses SWT, so everything looks native everywhere in sharp contrast with other UI toolkits like Swing.
Last time I programmed in Java I remembered it being slow and very memory intensive.
Too my surprise Eclipse is really fast and responsive.The Eclipse IDE makes it a joy to develop plugins.Code almost writes itself.It supports autocompletion and reference documentation is easily accessible within it.
So it left me with a very good first impression although it has a really slow learning curve and it takes some time to familiarize yourself with eclipse specific concepts I think it has huge potential.
So here is a screenshot comparing a BMI (Body Mass Index) calculator application written in Qt (the one on the bottom), Swing (the one on the right, you can't miss it) and Eclipse RCP (the one on the left).
The one thing I really miss is the signal-slot mechanism from Qt.Event listeners are a lot more painful.

Since the LHC went online I read a lot about it and about space in general.
I found this really cool wallpaper featuring our galaxy, The Milky Way.

It's a really fascinating sight :)

Anyway, school starts Monday so I'll be really busy, but I'll try to free up some time to keep up with my projects.

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