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State of Flow: The future of the EclipseWiki Editor::journal

The future of the EclipseWiki Editor

Channing Walton - Sunday March 2, 2008

The EclipseWiki has been around for about 6 years and has been quite successful if the download stats are anything to go by. But what next?

The truth is that I am not finding the time to work on EclipseWiki due to the arrival of the biggest time sink in the known universe, a baby.

The editor is also showing its age so I’ve been pondering about what should happen next.

My biggest problem with the editor is that it isn’t WYSIWYG. In fact, I think its a little ridiculous in this day and age to be writing documents in markup, switching back and forth between a rendered view and the text markup.

Consequently, my current thinking is that the next version should be WYSIWYG supporting exports of various formats for those users that need it. I hope to make use of the EPF Rich Text Editor which is in the process of being extracted for general use but there is still work to do there.

Now, I made a mistake with the current plugin by not providing extension points to support wiki markup flavours. Instead, support for Ward’s Wiki, TWiki and SnipSnap is hard coded in the plugin itself. This is due in part to the EclipseWiki being the first plugin I wrote and there is a limit to how much new stuff one can absorb in parallel, particularly when the day job keeps getting in the way. But, it also seemed like good idea at the time which was wrong or lazy on my part.

Exporting wiki mark-up in different formats is definitely something that could be done through extensions to the plugin and would encourage community involvement.

I don’t promise that anything will happen quickly and nothing can happen until the EPF editor is available anyway.

I also wonder the new version could be an EEP project too. I will, at the very least, follow the EEP values to make the code and plugin more understandable.

  1. Scott Lewis    Sunday March 2, 2008

    Hi Channing. One possibility…the ECF project is working on real-time shared editing now…and would like to take an editor like EclipseWiki and add the ability to do shared editing. This could also be contributed to the EEP project. Any interest in working some on this with us?

    Congrats on the little one BTW.

  2. Channing Walton    Sunday March 2, 2008

    Hi Scott, I am interested. Are you thinking of the wysiwyg idea for ECF?


  3. Axel Kramer    Tuesday March 18, 2008

    Hi Channing.

    I’m the developer of the Wikipedia Eclipse Plugin

    I’m in the same situation, that I don’t find time to work on the Eclipse plugin :-(

    In the last time I’ve only concentrated to create a Wikipedia Java API, which may also be useful for your plugin:

    (like HTML2WIki, support for Wikimedia api.php, Docbook, PDF…)

    It might be a good idea if some of us develop something like a general Java Wiki API and others implement these general features in Eclipse.

    BTW: you probably also know the textile-j plugin

  4. Channing Walton    Tuesday March 18, 2008

    Hi Axel,
    I agree that there is a need for some sort of platform for wiki-based documentation integrated into the workbench. Its difficult to commit to it at the moment though.

    Thanks for the textile-j reference, it looks interesting.