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[ecf-dev] ECF: der plan

Hi Folks,

I know it's been a long time since our last ECF project team conference call. My apologies for that.

It's been an extremely busy time for me, and a very busy time for ECF. Things are all very good, however, and bode well, I think, for ECF's continued growth and success as a project (if not for my likelihood of sleep ;).

---- ECF Recent Past -----

0) First, thanks in particular to Pete M., Peter N., Boris B., and Ken G for contributions over the last few months.

1) We now have access to three functioning servers: ecf1.osuosl.org (OSU Open Source Lab), ecf.intel-ra.com (Intel), and ecf.eclipse.org (Eclipse Foundation). This will allow us to being providing services to Eclipse Foundation project teams, external developers using ECF, and allow us as a team to do automated builds and tests. All very important steps for ECF. All for 'free' :).

2) At the Sept Eclipse Foundation Board of Directors meeting I laid out a planned deployment of ECF-based services to Eclipse Foundation project teams. This was greeted enthusiastically by Mike Milinkovich and other Board members. The dominant response was: 'as soon as possible'...and Mike and others will help us promote it for usage by the committers and the Foundation membership.

3) As well as working hard on #1 above, Pete M has been getting an automated build together for ECF and now has it fully ready. We will soon be able to run periodic automated builds (and run junit plugin tests as well), for our entire set of features and plugins on ecf.eclipse.org and the other machines as desired/needed. Pete has also put together a server utilization plan for allocating various services, update sites, web servers, build servers, etc to the three servers that we now have access to.

4) Ken and I have introduced support for XMPP chat. Peter N has added a number of new features requested by Ed Burnette (and listed in bug: https://bugs.eclipse.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=110894). With an upgrade of the Jive XMPP implementation we also support talking to Google Talk servers. I have just begun initiating contact with Google Talk team members, in an attempt to get implicit or explicit support and/or cooperation.

5) I have introduced additional ECF overview docs: http://www.eclipse.org/ecf/documentation.html and will continue with this documentation effort.

6) We now have a) a JMS provider; b) a Zeroconf provider; and c) an IRC provider. These provider implementations are not yet available on eclipse.org (due to need for foundation legal review), but they are available on cvs server on ecf1.osuosl.org: /home/cvsroot. The folks at OSU OSL are in the process right now of providing anonymous CVS read access (pserver) to this code, so as long as we are careful about the licensing we can distribute access to these plugins via ecf1.osuosl.org to interested users and developers (as well as ourselves) right now.

7) I've been making some fixes/changes in response to Ed Burnette's usage of the ECF XMPP chat client for EclipseZone weekly chat sessions. Specifically, just this past week I fixed several small bugs and added the ability to show multiple accounts in the ECF Buddy List view.

8) Paul, Mary, and Dmitry have been using and testing their application CCRP...which is based upon ECF messaging...and having recent success testing with multiple (~15) simulated clients.

9) I've been getting significantly more interest from folks looking to use ECF in building their applications. Since my EclipseZone interview, for example, I've had 4 developers approach me in email about using ECF for their projects (i.e. asking for info, looking to figure out applicability of ECF to project, etc).

10) DSDP and others continue to have plans for us to provide them with communications support for their Target Manager...for file sharing (e.g. providing p2p and multipoint file distribution implementations of new Eclipse File System: https://bugs.eclipse.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=106176), discovery using zeroconf, and possibly even multipoint remote device control.

11) I made contacts with several folks from Nokia, Digium (Asterisk folks), and others, and am persuing additional involvement/participation in ECF from these and other organizations. Jeff McAffer and the Equinox team have moved into the Platform team, and are interested in working with us further on security, identity, trust (along with Higgins) and other technical areas where ECF can create added value for the Platform.

12) I had a successful interview on EclipseZone (http://www.eclipsezone.com)

13) I've submitted a proposal for a tutorial on ECF at EclipseCon 2006

14) Other things that I've missed (please forgive...it's just so much has been happening for ECF I don't think I can capture all of it in one email)

---- The Future for ECF -----

SO, I think it's time to do some project planning, and naturally this is an open source project, so the way to do planning is with the ECF 'architectur council' (that's you :).

At a high level, I think these are the things that we need to address over the next months (prior to EclipseCon 2006):

1) Deployment of ECF services (IM/Chat, collab features, zeroconf discovery, other apps) and use of ECF example applications to Eclipse Foundation project teams.
2) Introduction of additional UI and features specifically for supporting #1, including standalone RCP 'chat' application
3) APIs, APIs, APIs, Docs, Docs, Docs (overview, articles, code docs, examples, etc)
4) VOIP/SIP/Asterisk/Skype (very big one)
5) New collab features: Web Browser/Ajax Integration example, VNC application sharing, Mylar-enabled task sharing (see https://bugs.eclipse.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=106562 and https://bugs.eclipse.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=111218), shared whiteboarding, WiredReach features, etc
6) Development/improvement of datashare and fileshare APIs and implementations in support of Higgins, Mylar, RCP, other apps.

I would like to begin a team discussion about these items, identify opportunities I've missed, and get commitments from each of you for efforts related to each of the above (and perhaps others that aren't identified). Also, if people don't think these items are appropriate please lets discuss it and identify a better list.

In the next few team emails I will try to elaborate and discuss the 6 items listed above, and hopefully we can get to a team understanding of what the opportunities are here, and how we are going to execute on these opportunities. So please respond to this email with your thoughts, etc.

I'll soon send out a second email specifically focussed on #1-#6 above.

Thanksinadvance for your continued hard and good work on ECF. We're now getting a good amount of positive attention both within the foundation and outside of it, and the interest level is extremely high.