|Watch P4Eclipse Plug-in Video|
I use Eclipse and Perforce all day every day.
At Perforce, we use Perforce "jobs" to track defects and enhancement requests. My day is filled with attempting to fix the current set of jobs scheduled for the next release and scheduling new jobs for future releases. On a typical day, I use the Eclipse IDE for actual development and an email client to be notified of changes to bugs. I use multiple tabs in a web browser to view the essential bug reports: recently opened, current release, next release, etc. I also monitor progress on several bugs and enhancements against the Eclipse project that impact the Perforce plug-in I work on, so I use Bugzilla daily as well.
When I took a step back and evaluated how I complete my set of daily "tasks", it's become obvious how much time I spend switching between the multitude of applications used to develop, collaborate, and stay up-to-date on what is going on with my project. I needed to build a tool that would help me become more productive.
Creating a Mylyn connector for Perforce removes all of the application switching I was doing and puts it in a single place—the place I never want to leave: the IDE.
So, I am very pleased to announce that the Perforce Plug-in for Eclipse now includes a Mylyn connector. The Mylyn project is a set of open source plug-ins that seek to increase productivity and reduce information overload for developers by creating a task-focused interface.
With the Mylyn connector, changelists and jobs are part of the Mylyn task-centric workflow. Several new features are included, such as automated changelist management, offline job editing, and the ability to quickly jump between tasks and the submitted changelists fixing that task.
I am able to monitor activity on multiple defect repositories and stay notified of any changes from the same place I code.
I also use the Eclipse IDE for creating, viewing, and updating tasks whether they are in Perforce or Bugzilla. I can build a task list that contains the important reports and, in the same unified view, see the status of Perforce jobs assigned to me, as well as Eclipse bugs I have submitted patches against.
The time saved by removing the context switching also extends to the QA team who test the Perforce plug-in. They are notified in Eclipse as bugs are closed and require verification, and can also re-open bugs directly from Eclipse, and add important contextual information such as screenshots or stack traces.
I've been using the Mylyn connector for Perforce for the last couple of months, and now I can't imagine going back to my multi-application ways. It now seems foreign to me to need to open an email message just to be notified that a bug has been verified, and then have to switch to P4V or P4Web to view the bug or to search for other bugs.
The seamless experience of navigating between task and fix all within Eclipse is possible through the stellar set of plug-ins developed as part of the open source Mylyn project. I recommend you download the 2009.3 Perforce Plug-in for Eclipse, install the optional Mylyn connector, and give it a spin. You should find it significantly quicker and easier to navigate between tasks and changelists, whether those tasks are in Perforce jobs, Bugzilla, Mantis, Trac, JIRA, or any of the other task trackers that provide Mylyn connectors.
Kevin Sawicki is a Integrations and Plugin Developer at Perforce Software. He is discussing Perforce, Eclipse, and Mylyn in the context of Agile task management at the 2010 Perforce User Conference, which takes place in the UK on May 11-12.