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From Jeffrey Liu <jeff...@ca.ibm.com>
Subject Re: Proposal for a centralized Eclipse update manager site for Apache projects/software
Date Tue, 03 May 2005 21:48:28 GMT
Hi Jaaron,

Thanks for your inputs. The short answer to your question is, I'm not 
looking for full-fledged plugins that support the toolings around ASF 
projects. Developing a Tomcat plugin (like the one used in the Eclipse 
help's system) would be out of the scope of what I'm proposing here. You 
are right, what I'm proposing is simply a new mechanism (an update site) 
to distribute outputs (jars, etc...) from ASF projects. I do want to point 
out that such distribution mechanism is not limited to projects that fills 
Eclipse dependencies, it can also be applied to full-fledged plugins. For 
example, if one day, the Tomcat project decides to roll its own version of 
the Eclipse plugins. These plugins can be made available on the same 
update site. It's just that the development of this plugin will remind in 
the Tomcat project. This new update site that I'm proposing is an 
alternative, hopefully better (in the eyes of Apache/Eclipse users), way 
of distributing ASF projects.

I believe this new distribution mechanism will help both Eclipse plugin 
developers and end users. For example, in WTP, there's a Web app called 
the Web Services Explorer which allows you to query business/services/etc 
from an UDDI registery. This Web app uses Apache Axis as the underlying 
SOAP engine. As a developer, I would like the ability to update the 
underlying Axis engine without having to rebuild WTP. Reason is simple, if 
Axis releases a fix, without the support of an update manager site, 
there's no easy way to get this fix into the current version of WTP. I 
(and end users) will have to wait for the next release of WTP in order to 
pick up this fix. Since Axis and WTP run on different schedules, it would 
be a nightmare to manage what fix gets into what release..... For end 
users, this update site can improve usability as well. I'll reuse the 
example from the original post. Picture that a end user is trying to 
generate a Web service using WTP. The user finds out that s/he does not 
have Axis and Tomcat downloaded. So the user download them manually and 
configure them into the Eclipse workspace. Configure in this case requires 
the user to launch the preference page and point WTP to the location of 
Axis and Tomcat. New users will not know where to configure Axis and 
Tomcat unless s/he reads some documentation. Wouldn't it be nice if the 
WTP wizards detect that the user does not have Axis and Tomcat install, so 
it pops up a dialog telling the user what's going on, shows the license 
agreements to the user and install the Axis and Tomcat plugins 
automatically? Btw, another reason why WTP is not redistributing any ASF 
projects directly is because there are too many of them. Imagine WTP ships 
with Tomcat 3.2, 4.1, 5.0, 5.5... the download size would be huge and 
users do not want that. It's better to install things on the fly when it's 
needed. That's why I think end users will benefit from this update site as 


Jeffrey Liu
IBM Rational Software - Performance Analyst
IBM Toronto Lab.
8200 Warden Ave. Markham, Ontario, L6G 1C7
Internal mail: D3/R8V/8200/MKM (D3-268)
T/L: 969 3531
Tel: (905) 413 3531
Fax: (905) 413 4920

J Aaron Farr <jaaronfarr@gmail.com> 
05/03/2005 04:34 PM
Please respond to


Re: Proposal for a centralized Eclipse update manager site for Apache 

Hello all.

I'm also copying over this reply I made from general@incubator.

On 5/3/05, Jeffrey Liu <jeffliu@ca.ibm.com> wrote:
> Hi, 
> This message was originally posted to the general@incubator.apache.org
> mailing list. Someone pointed out that such discussion should be carried 
> here instead. So I'm re-posting the original message here. Here it goes: 

> I want to propose a centralized Eclipse update manager site for Apache
> projects/software. 


In thinking about your proposal more I've got a few questions:

Are you looking for plugins that simply fulfill Eclipse project
dependencies or full-fledged plugins that would, for example, allow
you to launch Axis or Tomcat from within Eclipse?  If it's resolving
dependencies, then I don't see how a plugin wrapper around the jars
would do this without some Eclipse code to integrate into the
development environment (WTP,PDE,JDT).  AFAIK providing just a plugin
wrapper would only be useful for other plugin developers, not for a
'end-user' developer who would happen to be using the WTP.

Plugins which extend the IDE to use ASF projects such as a Struts or
Tomcat plugin are already available via various third parties.  Are
you suggesting the ASF should provide its own Eclipse plugins with
similar functionality?

The Eclipse project itself provides some ASF related plugins, most
notably the Tomcat plugin used for Eclipse's help system.  Is this the
sort of plugin you are looking for?  Likewise, Eclipse has started the
new Lepido project for a Cocoon development environment.  Seeing that
Eclipse already hosts ASF related plugins, is there any reason for the
ASF to host a similar update site?

I can see some advantage to providing ASF releases in plugin form but only
for plugin developers, not for most Eclipse end users.


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