Is Eclipse 4 a game changer? It may be…

If you are not aware, Eclipse 4 is well under way. You may also see a huge push for web based user interfaces in rich clients – ie. applications based on the Rich Client Platform. This shouldn’t be new to the Lotus or Eclipse community because you have probably seen many projects posted on OpenNTF that have 100% web based UI’s (ie. user interfaces that are written almost entirely in HTML and JavaScript). The Attachment Viewer is one of them.

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Web applications in a rich world

I use a lot of web based applications and I am seeing more and more richness to these applications as time goes on.  I have also been playing heavily in Dojo, CSS, HTML, JavaScript and a little bit of JQuery.  I have written about things like the BrowserFunction in Eclipse before and as we come closer to Lotusphere you will be hearing more about this area.  Just like you can now have XPage components in the Lotus Notes client, you can also do the same thing with basic HTML or even JSP’s in the Lotus Notes client because it contains the Lotus Expeditor web container under the covers.

I am seeing first hand that web based UI’s can integrate and play in the Notes client – soon, and end user won’t be able to tell if something is written in SWT or HTML.  Lately I have been playing with CSS layouts and menus.  Some browsers still have a ways to catch up but for the most part the stuff works great and is dead simple to code.  When I start seeing these kinds of things and really processing it, it makes me thing Google Chrome’s Operating System may play a major role going forward.  In short, if you aren’t coding to CSS3, Dojo or JQuery you may be left in the dust!

If you had to choose, which one would you prefer?  CSS, Dojo or JQuery?

There is definitely a lot of competition in this space and I actually think a lot of it is complimented between the players (CSS versus JS frameworks).

In the end, I think there will still be a heavy mix of JavaScript and CSS.

Using FireBug to speed up your site

I have been really diving on my site, making tweaks and optimizations and some minor cosmetic changes.  One tool that I have been using to speed up my site is Firebug.  The optimizations this great tool points out can be found under the “Page Speed” tab of the Firebug user interface.  You can systematically go down each item found and fix them; some are more valuable than others but the point is the way the tool works is very slick.  You can even compare your site score to some more popular sites to see how well you are doing.  One thing I may play with is compiling my JavaScript and other files.  From the screen shot below it looks like I can change some cache timeout settings to further speed my site up!

balfes-net-firebug

RAP or GWT – Which Java-Based AJAX Technology is for You?

I watched this video recording from EclipseCon 2009 and I think it is a great primer for these two technologies.  Dan and Mark from Instantiations do a great job laying out most of the pros and cons for them.  The recording is 37 minutes long and I think it is more than worth the time.

rab-gwt


Reference recording is here.

Digging into E4 and the new XWT

In case you missed this article that was authored by Yi Ming Huang a few days ago, here it is!  It is a great intro to the E4 platform and the new declarative XWT (XML Window Toolkit) programming model.  The article walks you through creating your first UI based on XWT.  I think this stuff is very important to Lotus Notes and Expeditor customers as we see more and more web technologies get into the Lotus Platform.

There is also the e4 white paper you should definitely read if you have not already.

Abstract:

The e4 project is the next generation of Eclipse. e4 will provide a platform for pervasive component-based applications and tools. In this article, learn about some of the new features in e4, such as XWT and declarative styling. XWT is a new toolkit for defining the structure of SWT/JFace applications declaratively in XML, while leaving the business logic in Java™ code. It can separate the model and representation while saving much of the layout and UI-related code originally developed for your SWT/JFace application. An example application walks you through the XWT interface and data-binding feature. [read more]

Learning about Eclipse 4 with these two great webinars

Eclipse 4 is right around the corner (release schedule is 2010) and it is currently in an incubator project called E4.  You can learn about this stuff with two great recorded weninars from the Eclipse site:

E4 – the Next Generation of the Eclipse Platform (Part I)

E4 – the Next Generation of the Eclipse Platform (Part II)