Mylyn for Eclipse – Distraction Free Computing

October 18, 2007


I am a huge fan of distraction-free working. In our current digital life, distractions are constant – the email, the mobile phone, the instant message, the text message, the rss feeds. One doesn’t have to seek information anymore, it drops down on your door step and clutters it.

The Mylyn plugin for Eclipse is a refreshing new concept, especially for people like me that are addicted to the information channels. Mylyn is primarily a task focused UI refactoring of Eclipse, although it has other great features like task repositories. IBM Developer Works has a detailed, two-part article on Mylyn.

As this InfoQ article lays out, the main features of Mylyn are:

  • Task-Focused User Interface – the interface automatically hides items which are not part of the current task, and keeps track of what items are related to a given task
  • Integration with Task Repositories – draws lists of tasks from Bugzilla, JIRA, and Trac as well as several other providers
  • Rich editing and transparent offline work – automatic caching of task changes, and automatic synchronization when back online
  • Complete Eclipse 3.3 integration – utilizes new Eclipse 3.3 facilities such as pervasive hyperlinking, editor-based content assist and Forms support

The name Mylyn kind of struck me as a strange name, and so here is the story behind the name from the author himself.

We outgrew the old name. Mylyn started out as the implementation of my PhD thesis… The new name is a tribute to the “myelin” substance, which accelerates your thoughts by making neurons much more efficient at conducting electricity. We’ve heard users claim that the Mylyn tool increases their efficiency to the point where they feel like they are coding at the speed of thought.

Speed of thought? You sure get close with this tool.


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