New Indigo Project #3: Scout

The third new project to join the Indigo release train is Eclipse Scout.  Mattias Zimmermann, project leader of Scout, continues my series of interviews with the new project leaders.

1. What does your project provide to an Eclipse user?

Scout is a mature and open framework for modern, service oriented business applications. It is simple to learn, even for Eclipse beginners, and substantially boosts developer productivity. The principles “Simple. Stable. Flexible” is a good summary of the core values of Scout: With the Scout SDK tooling building Scout application is intuitive and easy to start with. In our recent webinar [1] we tried to demonstrate this to the audience. As Scout is fully based on Java (everything is an POJO) and the Eclipse platform, advanced devlopers don’t feel “locked in”. Senior developers have many options to make good use of their expertise. And, last but not least, the stability is provided by the many years of productive use in a wide variety of customer environments of the Scout framework at BSI.

2. Why are you personally involved in the project?

When I joined BSI as a project manager in 2006 I was sceptical regarding Scout, as I did not quite understand the need for yet another application framework. Over the years, I became impressed over the flexibility and stability of Scout applications that I’ve seen in many customer projects. As the framework’s technology was completely moved to Java/Eclipse and Andreas Hoegger started the rumour that we might be able to open source the framework as an Eclipse project I was immediately convinced of the idea and became part of the story as a co-project lead with Andreas.

3. What is the future roadmap for your project?

On our roadmap we have two major tasks: The first one is community building. This is not an easy task. At least from the outside, Scout might already look ‘finished’ and ‘big’. We anticipate that will take a couple of years until we see the full set of adoption, contribution, and committing to Scout that will produce the targeted diversity of a successful Eclipse project. We ask contributors to be aware that we already have over 30 different customer projects running ontop the Scout framework. We therefore don’t easily change key concepts or the architecture as this usually generates migration costs that are higher than anticipated. Don’t get me wrong: We definitively don’t want to scare off contributors / potential committers. Quite on the contrary!  Please consider my remarks above in the light of expectation management 😉 Next to community building, the other major task on the roadmap for Scout is on the technology side. In addition to rich client UI support for Swing and SWT we want Scout to include webgui technology that allows to build webapplications!

4. What have been your experiences of participating in the Indigo release train?

Participating in Indigo was challanging in some ways (moving the complete build infrastructure to Eclipse) and less a pain than anticipated in some other areas. Specifically, we found the Eclipse IP processes reasonable and well organized. Overall, we will be happy to have achieved this major milestone of ours to have moved Scout from a closed source environment to an Eclipse project participating in the Indigo release train.

2 thoughts on “New Indigo Project #3: Scout

  1. From what I can tell: scout is a mature framework. It has some interesting concepts that cover most of the needs for the targeted type of software (business applications… ). I think that the biggest current issue is to be able to use it without inside knowledge… This can be achieve with more documentation and examples.

    Having a community of users and developers does not mean having big refactoring everywhere. Here some possible tasks: improve translations, write documentation, add integration with other interesting Eclipse projects (e4, Tycho, BIRT…), add automated testing, polish some details, fix differences between SWING and SWT UI runtime plug-ins, add better support of Mac OS X and Linux. I can also think of nice Scout additions: TreeTable, Graph/Reporting Fields, better support of other database engines…

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