Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Looking for DTP Hitchhikers...

Hi everyone...

Wow... It's been a while since I last wrote on this blog. I've been keeping busy at Red Hat since I hopped the fence back in June. :)

Unfortunately, with Sybase's reduction in DTP resources and a few other folks we've lost by attrition, we're suffering from a serious lack of help in the Connectivity and Enablement projects at the moment. Though Linda from Actuate helps out in Connectivity every now and then, it's pretty much just yours truly with occasional help from our friends at Codehoop. And my time these days is pretty minimal for DTP.

Talking with Brian Payton, our fearless leader these days in DTP, it came up that with the small core of folks involved it was like we were in a book "Hitchhiking Through Europe on Pennies a Day" - not getting too far, but when you do get picked up and make some progress on your journey it's often for a brief burst of speed and then you're out of the car on foot again.

So we're looking for a few hitchhikers to help us out.

I come to you, our friends in the DTP community and the broader Eclipse community, and ask for help. We're not asking for full time, devoted folks. We're asking that if you get some time and want to dig into DTP, we have lots of Bugzilla entries that could use some tender loving care.

If everyone who uses DTP would dig into one DTP bug every few months and provide a patch, I'm pretty sure our list of issues would decrease dramatically.

We already have a few mediums out there to communicate... We have the Eclipse DTP mailing lists and newsgroup (check out http://wiki.eclipse.org/DTP_New_Committer_Info to get the list of how to find those resources). And I just created a new IRC chat (#eclipse-dtp) on freenode that I'll be on any time I happen to be logged in. Maybe we can get the conversation going between other DTP community members and bring things back to life a bit!

Personally, I've been involved with DTP since 2006 and have really enjoyed working with everyone I've met. Who knows who you might meet? We can't offer fame or fortune for your contributions, but we can definitely offer our gratitude and most likely the gratitude of a grateful DTP community.

Who's interested in helping us out?


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Greetings from the land of Red Hats!

Hi all...

It's been a while since I last posted anything on this blog, but I want to assure you it's not dead. Well, not quite anyway. My new position at Red Hat has been and will continue to be a challenge - a good one! But that means I have less time to spend on DTP topics...

I know I still owe (oh ye few who read these words) the remainder of the YouTube/DTP plug-in I promised way back in March with my EclipseCon 2009 talk. But I hope to get back to that sooner than later.

In the meantime, I wanted to congratulate Brian Payton from IBM for becoming the new DTP lead. He's a great guy who's kept a handle on the SQL Editor for quite a while now and I'm sure he'll do great for the rest of DTP too! I'll continue to help out where I can and be involved, but to a much smaller extent.

As such, if you see him around please welcome Brian P to his new position if you get a chance. I'm sure he'd be happy to hear from our community!

We're in the process of finishing up 1.7.1 for the end of September with the Galileo SR1 release train and will then see what we can do for Helios.

If you, our great community, have some extra cycles to help out, we'd love to have you join the party. Give us a holler on the mailing lists or newsgroups and let us know what you're thinking. The more the merrier!

Thanks a ton for your continued support of DTP and hopefully I'll get back on track with some new posts here before long. :)


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The end of an era and a new beginning...

To the Eclipse and DTP communities...

Some of you may have already known that I was leaving the leadership of DTP at the end of Galileo. If you didn't already know, Sybase is pulling away from project leadership for now. They have their reasons for doing so, and though valid I am sad to see us retreat from DTP after the last four years.

That said, it's been an honor to help lead the DTP project over the last year and I'm proud to have been involved with all the participants and the community for the last four years. I've learned a ton and met some truly amazing people. And most of all, I've had fun. Those are always my three criteria for success -- the people I work with, what I learn on the job, and whether the job itself has some elements of fun. It's not always fun, but it has to have a bit at least. :)

I'll miss being as involved as I have been, but still hope to retain my committer status as I shift jobs, leave Sybase, and head to Red Hat at the end of the month. After more than 13 years at New Era and Sybase, I'm leaving to pursue a different opportunity. Definitely time for a change and RH made me an offer I couldn't refuse.

So I'll still be around DTP, just not as much as I have been over the last few years. I'm sure that others will pick up the mantle of DTP leadership and continue to shepherd the project forward. We have a great community that continues to grow and use our code in innovative ways, so I'm hopeful about the future of the project. I will still try and continue to post here as time allows, but I can't guarantee anything.

Thank you to all of you who have helped over the years. I'll still be around and hope to keep in touch!

--Fitz (aka Brian Fitzpatrick)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Interesting trend in DTP Mailing List

Hey all...

I saw Dave Carver's post about using MarkMail's indices of the Eclipse mailing lists and was inspired to take a look at the DTP mailing list to see if there were any trends. We seem to follow the same trend as WTP...

We seem to peak around the time of each year's release train, which makes sense, and then drop off a bit after that.

This helps to understand a bit of the adoption curve as was noted in the EclipseCon 2009 keynote "The Social Mind: Designing Like Groups Matter" (you can see the abstract here).

They showed a picture of Wikipedia contributions that looks somewhat similar to the graphs for WTP in Dave's post and this one for the DTP list. Initially there's a lot of contributions and conversation and it starts to drop off over time with only a few people doing the majority of the posting. In our case, the top 5 are all either Sybase or IBM folks, but it's heartening to see that at #6, we have Oracle represented and some of our friends at Actuate as well.

What does this tell us? Honestly not much more than we already knew, but it's good to have another metric. Thanks Dave for pointing out that Markmail is there!

If anyone's interested in the DTP-DEV stats, feel free to check them out here as well.

Back to the grindstone!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

DTPtv - Part 1 - Using YouTube APIs in Eclipse

Hey there...

So yes, I'm back to talking about DTPtv... (You can see my introduction to the series here.)

YouTube, LLCImage via Wikipedia

Now that we know generally what we want to do, we'll start by focusing on making the YouTube APIs usable in Eclipse and perform a simple test. Easy enough, right?

So the first thing I had to do was grab the YouTube jars from Google. I found those here. I grabbed the latest version of gdata-samples.java. The YouTube/Google APIs also have some dependencies, so I had to go out and grab imap.jar, mailapi.jar, pop3,jar, and smtp.jar. I was able to re-use a plug-in wrapper for javax.activation.jar from Orbit, which I'll talk about in a sec.

With all of the jars downloaded, I just had to create an Eclipse plug-in wrapper so they were available to other plug-ins. To do this is cake... Right-click in the Package Explorer, select New->Project, and in the list of Wizards select "Plug-in from existing JAR archives". Select your external jars (it will copy them into the plug-in wrapper). I named mine "com.google.gdata.youtube" and unchecked the "Unzip the JAR archives into the project" so it kept the jars as jars, not source code. Click Finish and watch the magic happen.

When it's done, I had to do one last thing to add a dependency. The Google APIs still depend on the javax.activation.jar...

Do you remember I mentioned the Orbit project? Well, you can read more about it here, but the idea is that it provides a repository for a number of third-party projects/resources that are shared across Eclipse. These have already gone through the IP process and are approved for our use. (Note however that even if a library is approved by the Foundation for use by all projects, project teams must still fill out a Contribution Questionnaire and notify the Foundation of their intentions to use a library). And there are quite a few of them. If you look at the latest build (from back in August 2008), you'll see 83 different packages available.

In this case, I just want javax.activation, so I locate it in the list, download it, and drop it in my Eclipse environment. Once the workbench picks it up, I can add it as a dependency in the MANIFEST.MF file for my wrapper plug-in.

Cool. So that pretty much wraps up my jar wrapper plug-in. Not too tough there.

So now what? Now that we have this plug-in, we can write a quick little application to do something with it.

I've gone ahead and created a simple class that does a very basic YouTube search...
package org.eclipse.datatools.sample.utube.sandbox;

import java.io.IOException;
import java.net.URL;

import com.google.gdata.client.youtube.YouTubeQuery;
import com.google.gdata.client.youtube.YouTubeService;
import com.google.gdata.data.youtube.VideoFeed;
import com.google.gdata.util.ServiceException;

public class UTubeUtils {

public static String TR_FEED_URL = "http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/api/standardfeeds/top_rated";//$NON-NLS-1$

* Return a list of video entries back to the calling method
public static VideoFeed getResults(String author, String title) throws IOException, ServiceException
YouTubeService myService = new YouTubeService(
"", //$NON-NLS-1$
""); //$NON-NLS-1$

YouTubeQuery query = new YouTubeQuery(new URL(VIDEO_FEED));

//set the author
if( (author != null) && author.length() > 0)
//set the actual query string
if((title != null) && title.length() > 0)

//choose most viewed as the ordering

//get the video feed
VideoFeed feed = myService.query(query,VideoFeed.class);
return feed;

So all that this really does is get a list of the top rated videos currently at YouTube. Pretty straightforward.

You'll notice a couple of things about the code. You have to have a developer key (your own ID as a developer or one for a particular company) and a client ID (seems you can have many of these). This basically lets the Google & YouTube APIs know that you're legitimately asking for data and aren't some rogue hacker trying to cause trouble. You can get these two items here. Once you have them, you can just create new constants for them and just use the constants.

So if you swap your developer key and client ID into the above code, it should do a quick search. But how should we test it?

I like creating new plug-in projects with example menu actions. To do this is pretty easy... Right-click in the Package Explorer, select New->Project, and in the list of Wizards select "Plug-in Project". Name it and set the plug-in ID and other info, and on the "Templates" page in the wizard, select "Plug-in with a popup menu." By default it keys off an IFile, so you can get to it from the Navigator or Project Navigator in the workbench.

It goes off and creates the basic code and you can then use your new utility class pretty easily by changing the run() method in the action class to look something like this:

    public void run(IAction action) {
try {
VideoFeed feed = UTubeUtils.getResults(null, null);
if (feed != null) {
if (feed.getEntries() != null && feed.getEntries().size() > 0) {
System.out.println("Found some videos...");
Iterator<VideoEntry> iter = feed.getEntries().listIterator();
while (iter.hasNext()) {
VideoEntry entry = iter.next();
System.out.println("Video Entry: " + entry.getTitle().getPlainText());
// clean up
feed = null;
} catch (ServiceException se) {
} catch (IOException ie) {

When you run the workbench and right-click on your action in the Navigator, you should see something like this in your development workbench console view...

Success! We have a plug-in wrapper for our YouTube jars and their dependencies. And we've verified that we can use those APIs in an Eclipse environment.

Next we have to figure out how to hook up YouTube to DTP and show a video in the workbench. And after that we can fine tune our look and feel to make it easier for our users.

Maybe this was a bit longer to write up than I'd thought originally, but this part of the process only took me about half a day when I was creating this code the first time.

Questions? Comments? Drop me a note here and I'll be happy to get back to you.

Next time I'll write about hooking up YouTube and DTP and how I used the built-in Eclipse web browser UI component to show videos.


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Monday, April 13, 2009

DTP APis and How to Use a Transient Connection Profile

Hi there...

On the DTP newsgroup we had a question about using DTP APIs to create a new transient connection profile and then use that to execute some DDL...

It's pretty easy actually... The trick for the transient profile is knowing all the bits and pieces you have to have ahead of time, like the:
  • provider ID, which is the connection profile type ID
  • vendor and version, which relate to the vendor/version of the database you're connecting to
  • and then the driver path. Note that you can also use a pre-defined driver and get the DriverInstance from the DriverManager, then retrieve various properties like the vendor, version, class name, and driver path from there
So you end up with something like this:
    private static String providerID = "org.eclipse.datatools.connectivity.db.derby.embedded.connectionProfile"; //$NON-NLS-1$
private static String vendor = "Derby"; //$NON-NLS-1$
private static String version = "10.1"; //$NON-NLS-1$

private static String jarList = "C:\\Derby10.1.3.1\\db-derby-\\lib\\derby.jar"; //$NON-NLS-1$
private static String dbPath = "c:\\DerbyDatabases\\MyDB"; //$NON-NLS-1$
private static String userName = ""; //$NON-NLS-1$
private static String password = ""; //$NON-NLS-1$

private static String driverClass = "org.apache.derby.jdbc.EmbeddedDriver"; //$NON-NLS-1$
private static String driverURL = "jdbc:derby:" + dbPath + ";create=true"; //$NON-NLS-1$ //$NON-NLS-2$

public static Properties generateTransientDerbyProperties() {
Properties baseProperties = new Properties();
baseProperties.setProperty( IDriverMgmtConstants.PROP_DEFN_JARLIST, jarList );
baseProperties.setProperty(IJDBCConnectionProfileConstants.DRIVER_CLASS_PROP_ID, driverClass);
baseProperties.setProperty(IJDBCConnectionProfileConstants.URL_PROP_ID, driverURL);
baseProperties.setProperty(IJDBCConnectionProfileConstants.USERNAME_PROP_ID, userName);
baseProperties.setProperty(IJDBCConnectionProfileConstants.PASSWORD_PROP_ID, password);
baseProperties.setProperty(IJDBCConnectionProfileConstants.DATABASE_VENDOR_PROP_ID, vendor);
baseProperties.setProperty(IJDBCConnectionProfileConstants.DATABASE_VERSION_PROP_ID, version);
baseProperties.setProperty( IJDBCConnectionProfileConstants.SAVE_PASSWORD_PROP_ID, String.valueOf( true ) );
return baseProperties;

public void createTransientDerbyProfile() throws Exception {
ProfileManager pm = ProfileManager.getInstance();

IConnectionProfile transientDerby = pm.createTransientProfile(providerID, generateTransientDerbyProperties());
// do something with the profile


And then once you have your transient profile, connect, get the Java connection object, and execute your DDL...
        IStatus status = transientDerby.connect();
if (status.equals(IStatus.OK)) {
// success
java.sql.Connection conn = getJavaConnectionForProfile(transientDerby);
if (conn != null) {
try {
java.sql.Statement stmt = conn.createStatement();
java.sql.ResultSet results = stmt.executeQuery("<INSERT QUERY/DDL HERE>");
} catch (java.sql.SQLException sqle) {


} else {
// failure :(
if (status.getException() != null) {

So not too bad. Great question though! Hope this helps!

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

I Want My DTPtv...

Hi again...

So one of my presentations at EclipseCon 2009 was "DTPtv and Other Wacky Ideas."

Was this truly a wacky idea? Probably. Who would have thought to merge Eclipse, YouTube, and DTP in one go?

My goal was two-fold... First, I wanted to show that DTP can be used for something more than just databases. Far too often we're pidgeonholed as a provider of database tools. And though we do that, we do much more as well. Second, I wanted to do something out of the usual box, and YouTube is pretty dang far out of the box...

Basically I focused on three different things...
  1. Make the YouTube APIs accessible and test them.
  2. Create a YouTube Search connection profile in DTP so you could create and manage multiple searches in a variety of ways.
  3. Create a viewer that would allow a user to take advantage of YouTube searches on the fly and see the results within the Eclipse IDE or in an RCP application.
Now why would you want to do this you might ask? Good question.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

Let's say you write Eclipse RCP applications for a company with a healthy education department. They want to help out beginning users by recording tutorials and putting them up on YouTube. Not only will it help your users, but it works as a bit of helpful marketing for your sales staff. And now that they're doing this, they want a way to be able to take advantage of these YouTube videos right inside the application.

Maybe this isn't so far fetched after all?

In the next series of blog posts, I'll focus on the three steps I took to get this all working. I demoed working code at the conference and will clean it up a little, zip it up, and have it available on a file sharing site soon. I hope to also contribute it back to the Examples project at Eclipse, as it crosses project boundaries.

As always, please feel free to ask questions or make comments as I go through the process. Many of you will find this old hat, but I'm hoping someone can take advantage of the information. :)


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Thursday, April 2, 2009

EclipseCon 2009 Post-mortem

Hey all!

I'm still in the process of getting my act back together after EclipseCon 2009 last week in Santa Clara, California. Was a great conference as per usual, and a bit of an eye-opener for me at least as far as the excitement (or lack thereof) for DTP in the conference community.

View Larger Map

First, let me say that I am very excited about Amazon's announcement about the AWS Toolkit for Eclipse. Eclipse in the Cloud is a very cool concept and one that I think will prove to be fertile ground for all sorts of interesting applications. The exciting part for me was hearing that the AWS Toolkit team is still looking at using DTP to help them integrate with their SimpleDB database in the Cloud in a future release of the toolkit.

Anything we at DTP can do to help with that effort would be very educational and cool for us. And as always, we'll help wherever we can. :)

Second... There were a TON of great talks at EclipseCon this year. Though E4 seemed to get most of the buzz, I think that runtime talks were running a close second. After attending a number of talks in all parts of the spectrum (business, coding, new tools, and so on), I came away with a ton of cool ideas I'd love to explore if time allowed. Things from exposing DTP as OSGi services, to using the Data Binding APIs, to using Zest to possibly help to visualize a database schema and other things. I have a loooong list of things to explore.

And third, I was bummed about the lack of interest in our DTP talks this year. We had a few people show up at the DTP tutorial on Monday, and I had a few people at my DTPtv talk, but we ended up with an empty room for our set of short talks at the end of Thursday.

Now, I know that DTP is really more of a "plumbing" project and I get that plumbing isn't sexy. But when people put time and effort into creating presentations (and in one case fly from Germany to present), it's disappointing that nobody wanted to listen.

Yes, there were probably extenuating circumstances. I know that many people left the conference early to catch flights and there were other talks that were probably much more exciting (I missed John & Max's talk in the same slot and would have liked to attended). But still...

Even with that bummer deal, I still think it was an excellent conference. Scott Rosenbaum and the program committee (of which I was a very very minor part) did a great job recruiting amazing keynotes and cool folks to come talk about their technologies. And as I said, I came away brimming with ideas for DTP.

So maybe next year will be a better year for DTP... Who knows?

I'll be writing up one or two more posts about my EclipseCon experience this year, including a post about my DTPtv talk, which (though it went short), I had a great time doing.

Thanks to everybody involved in the conference this year. Let's do it again next year!


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Thursday, March 19, 2009

DTP at EclipseCon 2009

Hey there!

Yes, it's almost that time again... EclipseCon 2009 starts with a bang on Monday. Can you believe it? It's already here!!

I head out to the (hopefully sunny) state of California on Sunday morning early for a boatload of meetings that afternoon and then DTP has a tutorial bright and early Monday morning at 8am.

But I thought I'd fill everyone in on what's cool in the world of DTP at EclipseCon this year...

We have our tutorial obviously -- "Using and Extending Eclipse Data Tools (DTP)" on Monday morning at 8am. If you're planning on attending, please check out the list of pre-requisites. We'll start with the DTP tooling, talk about DTP APIs, and then go a bit into how to extend the ODA and SQL editor for your own particular uses. Linda Chan (Actuate), Brian Payton (IBM), and myself will be presenting.

We also have a couple of long talks...
And a number of short talks that will be collected into one curated session hosted by yours truly...
So it's not forgotten, we also have a Birds of a Feather session on Monday night. If you want to come and chat, ask questions, and see what's going on in the world of DTP please drop by!
And if you're going to attend the Eclipse Community Spotlight panel at the end of the conference, you'll get to see a bunch of us talking about what's going on in the world of Eclipse.

So be sure to check us out while you're at EclipseCon! I hope to see you there!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Podcast about DTP at EclipseCon 2009

Hi all!

Kermit the FrogImage via Wikipedia

A couple of weeks ago, Wayne Beaton was kind enough to put up with me for a podcast in his series about EclipseCon 2009. What did we talk about? The Data Tools Platform of course!

We chatted about some of the talks we have for DTP at EclipseCon this year. And we of course hope to see you DTP community members at each of them... ok, maybe just a few (there are so many great presentations, you almost wish you could clone yourself!). But definitely stop by!

Though I still think I sound like Kermit the Frog, the podcast is up there for all to hear at Eclipse Live. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Thanks Wayne!

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Cool DTP Talks at EclipseCon 2009

Hey all!

I'm always amazed by the depth and breadth of talks at EclipseCon and this year is no different. In the Data Tooling category, we have a diverse set of talks (you can see the list here) on everything from some new tooling we've been working on, updates to the Graphical SQL Query Builder, how Ingres is rolling DTP components in new and unique ways, to using YouTube in DTP and how a commercial vendor (IBM) is using and extending DTP APIs for their PureQuery product.

I have to admit I'm sort of partial to the YouTube presentation I'm doing :), but I'm very curious to hear Ingres and IBM talk about their tooling and products and how DTP is playing a role in those.

For those of you just getting started with DTP, we have a tutorial scheduled for the Monday of the conference that's going to walk through a ton of topics from adding a new JDBC driver to the mix, to supporting a new database, and customizing SQL syntax and so on...

DTP is much more than just a great set of tools for data access... It's a great community. And EclipseCon is when that community comes together.

Come join our community!

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