The Improved Scala Eclipse Plugin

For the last few days I’ve been working on an Eclipse plug-in using a combination of mixed Java/Scala projects. That is, the same source folder contains both Java and Scala files. I think it’s awesome that this is finally working! At least I wasn’t aware if it was working before. There are still bugs in the Scala Plug-in for Eclipse, but the integration with JDT is now a lot better than before, thanks in part to Equinox Aspects as I understand. You can get the 2.8.x branch of the Scala plug-in, which contains the improvements, from the nightly builds update site.

Also, I noticed a curiosity: I wrote the most complex parts of the mixed projects in Scala, but I mostly created bugs in the comparatively trivial Java code. The Scala code ended up almost bug free from the start, even with hours and hours of coding without actually running the code. Is it really harder to create bugs in Scala? I’d like to think so.

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My Head Asplode

For some reason I decided to count the programming projects I’m more or less working on in my spare time and counted more than I thought.

Some Eclipse related stuff:

  • Bulletin Board API for the Eclipse Communication Framework. Recently did a major refactoring, needs some more updating to get all the features working again. (Java)
  • Padclipse, a “lite” packaging of Eclipse which includes only the Text Editor and a bit more, plus some custom additions. I haven’t really worked on it for a year and a half, but I want to update it when 3.5 comes out. (Java)
  • Eclipse plug-in to make 2D game development with Slick a bit easier. I was working on this for the past two weeks, just finishing up now and will release in a few days. (Java)
  • A secret Eclipse plug-in. Just started, will see if something good comes of it. (Java, likely some Scala too)

Server and game related stuff:

  • Ziggy, the forum bot that runs interactive fiction games, uses BB API. (Scala / Java)
  • Web interface for managing Ziggy, barely started. (Scala, PHP)
  • Scaler, a web framework, too little done to talk about. (Scala)
  • STON, a strongly typed and extensible JSON-like data format. Not sure of the usefulness. (Scala)

2D Game related stuff:

  • Scala port of the JBox2D physics engine. Almost done, but needs polishing. (Scala)
  • Gamp, a game entity system based on Slick and my Box2D port. (Scala)
  • Orbitum, a game making use of Gamp. (Scala)
  • A secret 2D platformer game, but I have barely started with this so perhaps it doesn’t count. (Scala)
  • Another game project, also secret. (Scala)

And this is not all. I occasionally work on quite a number of smaller things, some are just little experiments, others just for excercise. Some may become “projects”, some may not.

Looking at the list almost makes it seem unmanageable to me, but actually I don’t think I’m doing that bad, although there certainly have been release dates promised that haven’t been met. Now I know I should always multiply my time estimates by the number of projects I’m working on :) Only two of the projects are actually released/in production, and beta at that: Ziggy and Padclipse. At least two should have a release rather shortly: the Slick Eclipse plug-in and Scala port of Box2D. But even as I can move them out of the “yet unreleased projects” list, they are still going to need maintenance and updates.

Anyway, please comment, if you are also a programmer, or a geek with a different specialization, who has a lot of hobby projects, how do you manage not to get swamped with them or get the feeling that you are always working on cool stuff but never releasing? I was actually stressed by this a year or more ago, when I had somewhat less projects, but had not released any of them yet.

There are certainly good things about having so many projects: I don’t think I’m ever going to get bored. I have many ideas and wish there was enough time in the world to work on 30 more projects. And even if I wouldn’t think of any more new ideas, whenever I get bored with one of my current projects, I can switch to another one and so on.