Group Proposal, for discussion: IDE & Tooling support

Magnus Ihse Bursie magnus.ihse.bursie at
Tue Mar 5 11:10:32 UTC 2019

On 2019-03-01 17:28, Maurizio Cimadamore wrote:
> (This is not a call for votes; it is just a call for discussion.)
> At the last OpenJDK Committer Workshop in Brussels, we agreed to set 
> up some channel in which to discuss issues related to OpenJDK tooling, 
> and, more specifically IDE support. We already have pretty 
> comprehensive support for OpenJDK development in both IntelliJ and 
> Netbeans, but the main, long standing problem has been one of lack of 
> adequate communication and coordination between these various efforts, 
> which often led (frustrated) developers to the path of "I'll write my 
> own support".
> The goal of this group is, first and foremost, to extensively document 
> the alternatives that are already available at present, as well as to 
> capture discussions related to tooling support which are currently 
> scattered among many mailing list (compiler-dev, jtreg-dev, 
> build-dev). After some internal discussions, it feels like proposing a 
> group is the right thing to do because: (i) a group automatically gets 
> a mailing list and a page on - which can be useful 
> for communicating within the group and also for publishing the much 
> needed documentation; also (ii) a group is not tied to any specific 
> set of deliverables (unlike, say, an OpenJDK project), which feels 
> right in this case, as IDE support is likely to be a recurring activity.
> We want OpenJDK to be a welcoming place for developers, and I feel 
> that improving IDE/tooling support plays a crucial role in reducing 
> the activation energy required to start hacking on the OpenJDK codebase.
> Thoughts?
It has been the long-time intention of the Build Group to take 
responsibility for providing IDE integration to OpenJDK developers. 
However, due to the combination of lack of resources, and developer 
support not getting high enough on the priority list, this has never 
actually happened. :-( Instead our involvement has been to provide basic 
support and assistance for build system integration for the actual 
developers who has been fixing the current IDE integration solutions.

I still think there is (or should be) a strong coupling between the 
build system and IDE support. Ideally, IDE project generators should 
utilize the "knowlegde" embedded in the build system, and there should 
be minimal redundancy between doing stuff using make and using the IDE. 
However, it is also clear that JDK/Hotspot developers know better 
exactly what features they want from IDE integration. And, it still 
looks like there is not enough resources in the build team to do 
anything serious about IDE support, so other developers who can work on 
this are definitely needed.

I agree that providing a great IDE experience is a very beneficial 
thing, both for existing OpenJDK developers, and for attracting new ones.

Is this goal is best served by creating a new group? I don't know. I'm a 
bit skeptical, and think that this work still fits quite well under the 
Build Group umbrella, but if this is not the general perception, I will 
not protest against creating a new group.

Also, an alternative to creating a group is to create a Project. I'm 
certain the Build Group could sponsor an IDE Integration Project, or 
something like that. A Project can also get mailing lists and repos, but 
does not need to have a Group Lead that needs to perform additional 
duties like sending a yearly status report, etc.

> Cheers
> Maurizio

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