Sunday, February 10, 2008

On PACing it up and PACing it in...

I think it's Hammer time. Or so one might be led to believe if they read the signs... Well, one sign in particular, actually. On the way to the mailbox to retrieve my mail the other morning, I couldn't help but notice a recent modification that's been made to the traffic sign on my front lawn.

Apparently somebody can touch it after all. Speaking of popular rap songs from the early nineties, I was in San Francisco last week for Embarcadero's annual Product Advisory Council (PAC) meeting (yes, I intentionally misspelled "packing" in the title). The customers that make up our PAC love our products so much that they actually cover their own travel costs to meet with us once a year to discuss what we can do to better meet their ever-changing needs. What an experience!

My esteemed superior has already blogged about some of the feedback we received at this year's meeting. One of the things that surprised me that was that many of our PAC members hadn't heard of Eclipse... and among the few that had, there seemed to be a general consensus that Eclipse-based applications (particularly ones used for graphical modeling) are of questionable usability. Clearly, while things like the Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT) and the Rich Client Platform (RCP) have gone a long way toward enabling the development of consumable Eclipse-based products, we (the Eclipse community) still have our work cut out for us if we hope to remain relevant in the face of constant innovation in the industry.


Chris Aniszczyk (zx) said...

Eclipse... isn't that the chewing gum or is it that convertible that Mitsubishi makes ;)?

Kenn Hussey said...

No, it's the name of the restaurant in the hotel where we held our PAC meeting. ;)

Karen Lopez - said...

I apologize if my feedback was too abrupt about usability and sizzle of the Eclipse interface. No, I know it was too abrupt, so take out the 'if' statement there.

I think you are right that Eclipse is consumable (after all, I do manage to get data into Eclipse products and back out of them), but what I worry about is the fact that vendors are migrating toolsets with rich, mature usability features and it appears that we may lose some of the great advances that modelling tools have made over the last 25 years or so. I just don't want to see that happen.

Karen Lopez

Kenn Hussey said...

Not at all! This is the kind of feedback we vendors need to keep us honest. ;)

Let's work together to ensure that the Eclipse-based versions of those tool sets are a step forward instead of two steps back. Please don't forget to send me that list of usability features that you had in mind... Thanks!