Monday, October 21, 2013

Rediscovering Mylyn (Builds)

I always have a mixed feelings when I try to write anything about Mylyn. It's just impossible to cover all its greatness it in one blogpost, and the fact that it is written as an Eclipse add-on is not helping much in promoting it amongst my linux readers (it's all because of this joke:
But let's try. First of all, Mylyn is an excellent tool to keep all your bugs in one place, which is very useful for me, as I very often jump between projects and need to switch between different areas quite fast:

Mylyn Task list - bugs from different sources in one place
But that's just a tip of the ice berg.  The true power of Mylyn is 'context' management. What is a context? Well, it's a set of files you are working with, and Mylyn's ability to track which files are important for certain bug is hard to overestimate when you get a comment like:
Can you include a "description.txt" file (or similar) that describes how to rebuild them, in case it is required in the future?

The context is just one click-away - the only thing you need is to activate your task by clicking the ball next to it:

An active task, a task without context, and an inactive task with recorded context.
So now we go to the main Mylyn functionality, that really let's the entire Eclipse shine - just compare the next two screenshots:

Have you noticed which files are presented in the 'Package Explorer' view? Yes, that's those I really need! No clutter, no list scrolling! One click and you're back to task that you've left a week ago!

But even that's not all. If you have Continuous Integration running on Jenkins/Hudson, you may connect your Eclipse to it, and get this lovely view of your jobs:
Builds view. Notifications included. No more page refreshing.
Can you see the small JUnit action? Guess what does it do :). Yes, you are right - it opens tests in a JUnit view:

Jenkins/Hudson build test result loaded into Eclipse.
And now - once you double click the stack trace - Eclipse will open a file for you - no grepping, finding, searching - everything loaded into your really Integrated Development Environment!

Of course - this is just a small part of Mylyn functionality, this is just what appeals to me most in my daily work. But managers will be happy, too, with all the project-tracking functionality, integrated via OSLC, and really powerful tools (out of scope for this blog).

Quick instructions how to install Mylyn in Fedora (packaged by me):
sudo yum install eclipse-mylyn
Pretty simple - and really worth to try out!

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