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Eclipse overshadows wildfires and solar flares at OOPSLA

Despite wildfires and solar flares, the man-made Eclipse was a hot topic at the 18th Conference on Object Oriented Programming, Systems and Applications.

The Anaheim Convention Center, next door to Disneyland and far enough from the fire-ravaged mountains of San Bernardino and the eruptions on the sun, provided an oasis for OOPSLA 2003, which met there the last week of October.

Programmers, who drove over smoky freeways and endured long flight delays, attended keynotes and tutorials on the latest developments in Smalltalk, Java reflection, refactoring, plug-ins and the ever-popular garbage collection.

At the conference, which resembled a graduate computer science seminar led by college professors more than a typical software industry trade show, IBM appeared to be the largest corporate presence offering its support for Eclipse.

With the compliments of IBM Research, OOPSLA attendees received a copy of "Contributing to Eclipse: Principles, Patterns, and Plugins" by Erich Gamma and Kent Beck. Gamma, site lead of the IBM OTL Lab in Zurich, gave a keynote on Eclipse, the Java-based, open-source community, royalty-free platform designed to support a wide variety of software tools.

In their new book, Gamma and Beck argue that while Eclipse is now known and used only by programmers, the technology, following in the footsteps of Smalltalk, has the potential to involve business users in programming. But they also note that Eclipse as a topic is as vast as the solar system.

"There is far more to Eclipse than would fit into any 10 books," they write in their book from Addison-Wesley publishers. Their more limited goal is to provide enough information to get object-oriented programmers, like those at OOPSLA, involved in the technology and the Eclipse community.


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About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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