Friday, September 21, 2007

New Subclipse Build Posted -- Dialog Improvements

I just posted a new development build of Subclipse - 1.3.3. You can currently only get these builds as part of the CollabNet Merge Tracking Early Adopter program. The reason being that these builds require development build of Subversion 1.5 and I am coordinating these builds so that they use the same Subversion binaries (to make it easier to test).

This new build includes some dialog UI improvements I have been wanting to make for a long time. I have really grown to like the simplicity of the CVS commit dialog and have heard comments many times about the general usability difference between the CVS plug-in and Subclipse. So the intent here is to close the gap some more and incorporate some of the same UI while maintaining the Subclipse features that we can. Here is a fairly complicated example that shows most of the features:

There are a few of major changes.
  1. The dialog uses a wizard-style UI which is pretty common in Eclipse. This gives us a chance to include a graphic and just generally make the dialog look better.
  2. The presentation of files has changed from a table with checkboxes to the more friendly and graphical mode that CVS uses. There are three presentation models to choose from.
  3. Because we no longer have a table to show data and text we needed a way to show when there are Subversion property changes. We are using a second decorator to do this. Currently we only use this in these dialogs, there are no plans to do this in Eclipse views.
  4. The biggest change is that you now have to right-click and use Remove from view to not commit something. You used to be able to uncheck a check-box.
Earlier this year I wrote a post that detailed the Features of the Subclipse Commit dialog. You can review that post if you want to compare the differences in the UI. Here is another screenshot that is a little simpler to give another taste of the changes.

I think everyone will agree the dialog looks better. I think where there might be some controversy is in how you decide to not commit a certain file. This new approach is definitely optimizing for the scenario where you typically commit everything in the dialog. Users that work mostly from the Synchronize view, as an example, should really like this better.

Personally, I find this approach more usable. Even though it is a little more difficult to right-click and remove something than it was to uncheck it, the fact that the item no longer shows up in the view makes it more obvious what is going to be committed.

The Revert and Lock dialogs got the same treatment:

Other dialogs like Switch and Create Branch/Tag also received the new wizard look. Please give these builds a try and let me know what you think. The best places to reply would be the Subclipse users@ mailing list or in the issue tracker for this issue 682.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Introducing the CollabNet Merge Client

I have not posted to this blog in quite a while. I have been thinking about using it to blog some personal thoughts (like on the Red Sox) but I know it is syndicated in a few places for its Subversion/Subclipse content so I haven't. Instead, I have been doing all of my Subversion blogging over on the Submerged blog at openCollabNet.

It has been a busy summer. I have been more involved in the Subversion community than at any time in the past. Earlier in the summer I was made a full committer which was a proud moment and I have been doing a lot of work to help drive us to the final 1.5 release. Beyond all of that, what I have really been working on the most, however, is the development of a new GUI merge client for Subversion to coincide with the Subversion 1.5 release. Yesterday, we officially announced the client and released an early version. You can read the blog post here, or skip right to the details here.

The CollabNet Merge Client is built on top of Eclipse and Subclipse and has the simple goal of making merge easier. I think it does that and a lot more. It has really turned out great. There are details on the web site, so I will not reiterate them here.

As part of developing this client, we have also made a lot of really nice enhancements to Subclipse. We have focused on taking advantage of all of the great new features that are coming in Subversion 1.5 and also on general usability. I think the final result is going to be great.

The Subversion community is working hard to get the Subversion 1.5 release process started by mid-October so that it can be GA in December. The GA of Subclipse 1.4 and the CollabNet Merge Client will be at the same time.

If you use Subversion and Eclipse, even if you do not use Eclipse, I would encourage you to check this out and give it a try. It requires using the latest build of Subversion 1.5 on the client, but that is not as risky as it sounds, and we will be refreshing the client with new builds as needed. We are also providing Linux JavaHL binaries to make it easier for Linux users to try. Currently only OSX users are shut out, which is ironic because I do all my development on OSX. We could probably make a 1.5-trunk installer for OSX but it would take some work to make it co-exist with the existing 1.4.4 client for OSX. I know Jeremy has been busy so I have not asked him to do the work required. At worst this problem will go away when 1.5 is GA, but hopefully we will have something available before then.

CollabNet Desktop - Eclipse Edition

There was one other aspect to this, yet another thing I have not blogged about. That is the CollabNet Desktop - Eclipse Edition. This is a unified set of tools to access all CollabNet products from Eclipse. We include Subclipse for accessing CollabNet Subversion repositories. There is also a small UI layer on top of this to integrate into the CollabNet perspective and sites view.

It also includes connectors for Mylyn to integrate the issue trackers available in CollabNet Enterprise Edition (CEE) into Eclipse. There are a lot of popular open source sites that use CEE such as,,,, etc. Now the issue trackers for all of these sites are available in Eclipse and Mylyn.

We are also currently working on a Mylyn connector for the issue tracker in SourceForge Enterprise Edition, which is now a CollabNet product. Note: This is not the same product that runs on

Last but not least, we also provide integration and access to CollabNet CUBiT. This is a really cool product and the integration came out great. CUBiT allows you to virtualize your build and test environments. From Eclipse, I can provision a server in our CUBiT environment, this includes picking the operating system to run and possibly a set of other components I want to install such as MySQL, Apache etc. These servers are accessible via SSH, and the CollabNet Desktop client makes it simple to access the servers and setup port forwarding to access services running on the servers etc. We integrated the SSH Terminal from the Eclipse DSDP/TM project to provide terminal access. We also support launching external clients but none are required.

I use CUBiT to dynamically provision servers to test Subversion releases (which I have to test on Windows, Linux and Solaris), but most people are using it to build, run and debug server-based web applications. Anyway, the CollabNet Desktop was just another of the many things I have been working on this summer and it went GA a few weeks ago.

It has been a busy summer.