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Interview with Eric Cloninger on the Eclipse Andmore Project


1. Hi, I’m here with Eric Cloninger who is the Product Manager of Tools and SDKs at Samsung, talking about the Andmore project. I wonder if you can tell us a little bit about where the Andmore project came from?

Andmore started out as Google’s ADT or Android Development Tools, plug-ins for Eclipse. These tools had been around for 5 or 6 years now. Google made a decision about a year and a half ago to work on another IDE, not Eclipse, and so the ADT plug-ins have kind of not had a lot of feature development done on them. So we took that part of the tooling out of the Android Open Source project and moved it to Eclipse with the blessing of the people of Google, so that we can kind of bring them forward to the current versions of Eclipse, Eclipse best practices and things like that, so that Android developers who want to continue using Eclipse for whatever reason can do so.


2. And so you are building on top of what was there before, but presumably you are planning to add features on top of that in future as well?

We are, so a lot of the code that came from Motorola, who had a branded version of Eclipse for quite a few years, a lot of the features that came from that are in the Open Source as well and we’ve been integrating those pieces so that you’ll have the ADT plug-ins plus some of the Motorola code that did useful things, plus some new things that we are adding as well, support from Maven, eventually there will be support for Gradle coming through from another project as well.

Alex: So I think the Gradle plug-ins is the way that the Android Studio works and builds projects at the moment.

Yes, and a lot of people want to be able to hand a project off that may come from another team that’s using other development tools. Gradle is just the underlying build system, you can use whichever editor and development tools you want.

Alex: And I think that’s some support for Gradle at Eclipse as well, it’s coming on board in the near future

That doesn’t come from us, it is coming from another project, but we are looking forward to it because it will help us as well.


3. And is the Andmore project working with other projects at Eclipse and things like that?

There’s stuff that’s been done with CDT, of course obviously for Android you do a lot of Java development, but some are potential downstream adopters working in other projects inside of Eclipse, so that will be a lot of kind of everybody’s favorite features that gets pulled in from different Eclipse projects.


4. We talked about native libraries as well, how do native libraries for Android get compiled?

Normally today you do all of that kind of in a separate terminal session, or you know it’s part of a Maven build. What we want to be able to do is provide support, via a CDT. Doug [Schaefer] who runs the CDT project has done some of this work in the past, it’s just never made it into the ADT plugin so hopefully we want to bring that in as part of Andmore.


5. And who else is involved in the Andmore project?

Right now it’s primarily myself and Dave Carver who have done most of the work, but Doug from QNX and BlackBerry, he has some things that is going to give, there is also some people at JBoss, Red Hat who are getting involved. A lot of companies that have kind of downstream products and I think that they’ll benefit from this, so we absolutely want to get other companies on board.


6. And if people did want to get involved with the Andmore project, what’s the best way to start?

Well we have mailing list, it’s, all the code is on the Eclipse GitHub site and anyone can fork can go off and do their work and we will accept pull requests.


7. And do you pick up pull requests through GitHub and then they flow down into the Eclipse project?

They do, all of the pluming of Eclipse and GitHub, it’s all already there so you can summit a pull request, we can bring it in, run it through Hudson, actually check that it doesn’t break the build that runs all of the tests on it, and then once we get back a clear report from Hudson, we can then integrate the pull request directly in GitHub. Dave and I usually do all of that pretty much on a daily basis.


8. When is the plan for a first release of the tools?

We would love to be on June train with a package that can be downloaded along with say JDT or the CDT Tools. More long term is we have quite a bit of a work to do so it’s a bit rough around the edges but it’s fully operational. This time next year you’ll certainly see something out of it, but after June of this year with the release train, we’ll probably be on all of the incremental releases as well.

Alex: Mars plus 1, whatever that turns out to be.

M1, M2, those types of things.

Alex: Eric, thank you very much!

Alright, thank you!

Apr 29, 2015