eBay's Presentation Architecture and Eclipse
The first article describes the evolution of eBay's presentation architecture from its early Perl roots to the current Java version, known as version 4:
What about the hardest problem of them all: content? V4's content system is unique and powerful. It uses its own XML-based language to create content contracts. The choice of the word contract is intentional. Contracts define what kind of data is needed to create any variation of a piece (unit) of content. For example, a particular unit may need an integer and a string in English (like "Raymond has 4 cars"), but requires two integers and a string in another language. There may also be multiple variations for gender and cardinality. The contract defines all of this in XML. The contract is then implemented in each language supported by a particular application/page/component. And, of course, it has to be represented as a strongly typed object in Java that requires all of the dynamic data (like "Raymond" and "4" above) to be supplied in order for it to be used. Because everything involved are strongly typed Java objects, everything is enforced at compile time. If an application developer doesn't give the two parameters in his Java code, the code won't compile."
The second article describes how eBay use a combination of an XML file format and another proprietary plug-in to manage their project dependencies. The XML file allows Eclipse to generate the necessary project and .classpath files, and as with their XML contracts a second plug-in provides an editor for the XML.
As well as their own collection of proprietary Eclipse plug-ins, eBay also use third party ones. Two which get a mention are the Rational ClearCase plug-in for source-code control and static code analysis tool FindBugs which is used by eBay as part of their acceptance of any source code.
A significant aspect of this is the open source nature of the Eclipse platform. Since the source is open it is a comparatively straightforward task for eBay to integrate their proprietary plug-ins with the rest of the IDE.
Stephanie Davis (nee Stewart) Dec 21, 2014