By James Cooley - December 12 2006 tags: eclipse

Mylar is sometimes touted as an example of innovation on the Eclipse platform instead of Eclipse being another free platform playing playing catchup with a proprietary one. I just watched a webinar on Mylar and it looks useful. When you apply the Mylar fisheye (degree-of-interest) view you only see classes/files relevant to the current task e.g. in a project of several hundred classes you see the subset that you are working on thereby reducing information overload. It provides a filtered context for each problem you work on making multi-tasking easier.

Mylar is based around tasks (bugs, enhancement requests, etc.) that you manually add to your Eclipse task list or import from a bug tracking system like Bugzilla, Trac or Jira. Once you select a task in Mylar it applies a fisheye view of your workspace based on how you navigate the project. So if you click on a method or a class it becomes viewable in your explorer views.

The nice thing I didn't get until I watched the webinar is that you can save Mylar tasks so you (or a colleague) can return to the reduced workspace view if a bug is reopened at six months later - this is also a very clean way to assess patches. It lets you multi-task over the lifetime of a project in a much more efficient way.

Java appears to be the only language supported fully at the moment but there is an extension mechanism for adding other languages. It's a very nice addition to Eclipse for working with large projects.

In case you didn't know for the next pub quiz a mylar is "an aluminized film used to avoid blindness when staring at a solar eclipse."