Saturday, April 24, 2010

UI Patterns in Eclipse

Slides for my talk at Eclipse Day India 2010

Eclipse Day India 2010

Yesterday I presented at the first Eclipse Day to be organized in India. It was a great event, credit goes to Ankur and Prakash for organizing it, and to all the presenters and attendees (some of them had come from other cities) for making it successful.

The keynote was planned to be delivered by Daniel Megert, but the volcanic eruption in Iceland meant that he could not make it to Bangalore. However, Rajesh Thakkar, who stepped in at the last minute, delivered a nice keynote - Agility and Open Source. He is quite an inspirational speaker and I have heard him quite a few times inspiring people in the hallways of Rational Labs :). The keynote started off with a history of open source (not open source software), looks like open source has been around since at least 1857 when volunteers started work on the Oxford English Dictionary! I also liked his point on working at a 'sustainable pace', and not over committing. A lot of developers (me included) are guilty of saying 'no problem, it will be done' even when they no nothing about the problem at hand and then slogging days and nights trying to get it done.

Among the other talks I liked
- the OSGi tutorial by Prakash - modules in an application and rooms in a house analogy was nice!
- P2 talk by Pradeep,
- the one on RAP by Ankur ,
- and lastly Chetan's talk on dependency injection. I thought Chetan explained the topic really well with simple examples.

And oh yes, pizza and drinks with my team and Rajesh in the evening was fun. Guys we need to make this a tradition at every Eclipse event we organize!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Eclipse, NASA and the Mars rovers

Dr Jeff Norris from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory gave an amazing keynote presentation at EclipseCon 2010. He showed how his team at NASA has been using Eclipse based clients to control Robots/Rovers. He also did some live demos - remotely controlled a giant ATHLETE rover, and controlled a robotic Socrates head. It was nice to see Eclipse being used for controlling those Mars rovers :).

While I was really impressed by the live demos and the rovers I think the highlight of his talk was something else. The talk was built around the point that 'An individual alone cannot construct a skyscraper (a complex system), it takes a group of people specialized in different skills to do that'. This means that an individual's contribution, however small it may appear, is important to the group's success and we at Eclipse can take some credit (however small) for those Mars Rovers :).

10 years ago I was writing essays as part of 'Red Rover goes to Mars' project, while my essays did not make the cut then, I now write software which is used for controlling those Mars Rovers! Pretty neat, I say :)