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[jdt-apt-dev] RE: [dali-dev] Annotation editing in Eclipse

Looping in Eclipse and BEA devs in this area.

-----Original Message-----
From: dali-dev-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:dali-dev-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Neil Hauge
Sent: Monday, July 31, 2006 10:14 AM
To: Chuck Bridgham; cbrealey@xxxxxxxxxx; Naci Dai
Cc: WTP PMC communications (including coordination, announcements, and
Group discussions); General Dali EJB ORM developer discussion.
Subject: [dali-dev] Annotation editing in Eclipse

Hi guys,

As component leads for various projects that will need to support Java 
EE 5, I wanted to get a dialog started regarding annotation editing for 
Eclipse 3.3/WTP 2.0.  The Dali JPA project has been dealing with this 
issue for some time now, and I wanted to get everyone I can involved in 
this discussion so we can try to devise a strategy for dealing with this

common issue of configuring annotated metadata in Eclipse.

One of the major issues is that Eclipse does not yet have a generic 
annotation editing solution (outside of the Java source editor).  
Rephrased, there is no common area for a user to go to edit annotations 
via a UI (be it a basic properties table, or a rich UI).  In the Dali 
project, this has led us to create a custom "Persistence Properties 
View" which is associated with the java source and a custom "Persistence

Outline", all of which is not very "Eclipse-ish" in terms of platform 
integration, but seems required due to the lack of other visible options

when dealing with the JDT UI.

The current paradigm for supporting Java EE metadata in Eclipse is to 
write an editor (or use the XML Editor) for the given XML Descriptor.  
This allows for rich UI in the editor or in the Tabbed Properties if 
desired.   For some of the Java EE 5 technologies, such as EJB3, the XML

Descriptor has been left as a secondary option in favor of annotations.

In order to deal with this change, we need to find a way to help users 
configure complex JEE 5 annotations in a consistent fashion.  Beyond EJB

3 -  Web Services (JSR 181) and JAXB 2.0, among many other non-standards

based technologies, will need some sort of annotation tooling support. 
Initially, I see a couple of different options here:

1.  Rely only on in-source annotation help via code complete and quick 
2.  Push for the creation of a common annotation editing concept, which 
could be in the form of an extension to the Properties view (basic 
properties table or Tabbed Properties), or perhaps an additional editor 
tab beside the java editor (tabbed editors), or maybe a completely new, 
extensible annotation editing view.

It is very debatable as to what is best, but I think some sort of common

location for the related technologies to put their annotation 
configuration will be necessary (if we are going to have UI for 
annotation editing).

Since we are all in this annotation boat together, I figure it would be 
good for us to collaborate on the solution.  If we can agree that there 
is a gap here, I will go ahead and enter an enhancement in bugzilla, and

we can continue the discussion there if that is more appropriate.


Neil Hauge
WTP-JPA (Dali) Lead
Oracle TopLink Tools

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