Feb 20

Headless Eclipse, and Smalltalk browsing with Bespin, thanks to Avi Bryant

Bespin, Tech with tags: , No Comments »

Nothing like seeing people doing things that make you saw “Wow.” and they are using your project!

First, I posted on the Mozilla Labs blog about Boris Bokowski and Simon Kaegi and their work with Bespin fronting a headless Eclipse. Their demo is exciting to us as they were able to implement the Bespin Server API in short order, and use Eclipse to run Java compilation on the server, thus returning errors back to Bespin. This is exciting as this would enable a huge variety of languages and functionality.

I was fortunate enough to meet Boris, Simon, and an Eclipse crew today. It was a real pleasure to talk tech and share ideas. Amazing when you are surrounded by smart engineers who have been doing tools for a long time!


Then, as I sit at the airport, I see a message from Avi Bryant of Seaside and DabbleDB fame (as well as many other things).

He did something very cool indeed. He backed Bespin with Squeak:

I work in Smalltalk, which deals with source code at method
granularity rather than file granularity. I spent a few minutes today
playing with a Bespin backend for Squeak that exposes the package/
class/method hierarchy as if each method were a separate file, which
works very nicely, and feels very familiar (since column browsers
were, AFAIK, invented for Smalltalk-80 in the first place :).


He points out the issues of the current Dashboard to Editor design, which we agree with. Our plan is actually to unify the two, and now we want to do it even faster to help his use case. What if you can be in the editor and quickly bring down the horizontal file pane (moving down the editor). Then you can select the methods and the code will change below. Excited to get that going. We also need small things like having the dashboard remember state.

Thanks to the people that have spent time playing with Bespin. Very much appreciated!