Help making ECLiPSe better!

Current State

ECLiPSe has a lot of functionality, and therefore many components, from IDE, over compiler, runtime system, constraint solver, devlopment tools, libraries to third-party software interfaces. Although various Constraint Solving software has appeared over the last years, ECLiPSe remains one of the most versatile systems, supporting many different techniques, and providing much flexibility to tailor algorithms and experiment with different methods. It serves also as a glue-system to integrate more specialised third party solvers such as COIN software or Gecode.

ECLiPSe is currently maintained by Joachim Schimpf and Kish Shen, with a small support grant from Cisco Systems. Both maintainers have been involved with the system for a long time, keep everything running, and continue development. Nevertheless, many ideas for improvements and additional functionality remain forever in the pipeline.

As ECLiPSe is an open source system (since 2006, although an academic user community has been around for almost 20 years), we should be now in a position to change this! There are many areas where you can contribute even without having in-depth kowledge of the whole system:

Adopt a Library

Is there an ECLiPSe library that you use a lot and are familiar with? You can help with testing, bug fixing, and making it more user friendly by adding documentation or missing functionality.

Adopt a Binary Distribution

We need help with regular binary builds for less common architectures and operating systems. Also, if you are familiar with installers or the various Linux packaging systems, this is where you can help.

Contribute a Library

Do you have code that could be useful for others? Have you written a new constraint solver? Wrap it up as a library, add some documentation and tests, licence it under the MPL (alternatively BSD or LGPL-2), and become a contributor! Examples of past contributions are the Sbds, Sbdd and Ldsb symmetry breaking libraries, the Cardinal set solver and the Grasper graph solver.

Contribute Documentation and Examples

ECLiPSe has a lot of documentation, but the relevant bits are not always easy to find, or easy to read. If you have a good way of explaining something, or if you have developed teaching materials or programming examples that you would like to see more widely used, please consider sharing them!

Contribute Ideas and Specifications

If good ideas are turned into good concrete proposals, chances are that someone will take an interest and turn them into reality.

Help with the Development Tools

Calling all Java and GUI wizards - we have an ECLiPSe/eclipse plugin called Saros which brings the tkeclipse functionality into the eclipse IDE framework. It is in need of a maintainer and developer, who can bring it into a state where it can replace the tkeclipse GUI.

Engineer Things Better

System components are in different states of maturity (refer to the status line in the library reference documentation).

Contact

Post to the mailing list or email one of the main developers (jschimpf or kish_shen at users sf net) directly, they are very nice people (most of the time...)