The Purpose of Eclipse Explorer Toolbox (EET)

Problem background

Eclipse in an open-source Integrated Development Environment (IDE); the most known use of Eclipse is developing Java applications but Eclipse itself is a generic environment that is highly extensible and customizable. Actually, Eclipse is very big software system composed from many different tools and components, and its source counts of hundreds thousands of code lines. To understand how its pieces works there is a need in special code exploration tools.

Goals

Eclipse Explorer Toolbox (EET) should help the user exploring and understanding how different concepts in Eclipse or external java programs are implemented. While main analysis engine is still user brains, EET should expose powerful set of tools that will assist him in that task.

Eclipse Explorer Toolbox can integrate with Super Toolbox provided by Horns and Hooves, Ltd via the Scenario Tool. See the Installation Guide for more details.

The main purpose of Eclipse Explorer Toolbox is Eclipse exploration. However, all of the tools may also be used to explore stand-alone applications.

Eclipse Explorer Toolbox was written by Fourth Contact group.

EET Components

The toolbox is composed of static and dynamic tools.

Static tools

Static tools are tools that can do their job without gathering any run-time information.

Dynamic tools

Dynamic tools are tools that require some run-time information for their operation

Categories

EET exposes to the user powerful categorization means to allow collecting, sorting data already acquired.

The main concept we introduce in EET is concept of Category. Category is no more but label that can be put on virtually any item that may be of interest: package, class, method. Different 'mass' operation may be performed on the whole category, like placing breakpoints, hiding, making sub-categories, etc. All the knowledge about the program being explored is collected and is always available. With the time more understanding comes and more clear structure can be built using EET means and categories.

The idea behind the total categorization is like sorting a bunch of unknown files (or ones recovered from the disk crash). Some of those files can be put into specific directories just basing on their names, others should be opened and their contents should be explored in details. Some of files' purpose remains unknown for a while, but they still can be sorted as 'important' and 'not important'.

Following the analogy, once we marked some files as videos and placed them accordingly we may want to split them into movies and cartoons. At any time we may change our categorization if we discover it is wrong.

The only difference between the analogy of hierarchical file structure and EET category concept is that one category item may belong to several categories. Thus, a video file may be a part of 'video' and 'fun'.



Fourth Contact Group
Last modified: Sun Jul 09 14:05:36 Jerusalem Daylight Time 2006