Xtext meets e4: Developing an editor for the e4 workbench model

A session at EclipseCon

Xtext is a framework for defining textual languages for a vast range of different scenarios. One of them is e4 where developing applications implies a lot of declarative programming such as defining UI styles or the workbench. The structure of these declarative parts is in most cases defined by an Ecore model that comes with generic default tooling. While this is already superior to traditional "XML programming", Xtext not only can improve the tooling but can offer an even more expressive way to describe the very same information. It allows you to design a language exclusively for this purpose. And you will do so within 180 minutes :)

In this tutorial we will choose the workbench of e4 as an example and demonstrate how Xtext can be used to implement high-quality tooling for its models. We will create a language for the workbench model complemented by an editor with elaborated support for cross references within the model and to external Java elements instead of just plain string matching. That editor will provide syntax highlighting, content assist and validation with immediate feedback while describing true EMF models that can be consumed by e4. We will build a language and tooling that feels more natural to Java developers, thus lowering the barrier for developing e4 applications.

About the speakers

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Moritz Eysholdt

Working on @xtext; Located in Kiel, Germany; Interested in Eclipse/DSLs/MDSD bio from Twitter

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Heiko Behrens

founder & CEO of BeamApp

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Jan Koehnlein

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