Nicolas Richeton's blog

Nebula project news

☕️ 3 min read

Nebula is a rather active Eclipse project even if it is maintained mostly by individuals (see Nebula statistics on Ohloh). It can also be very silent :-) . If you’re not following the cvs commit log, the dev mailing list or open bugs, it can be hard to notice what is going on.

Here are the latest news :

Nebula is not only an incubator for SWT :

The current Nebula mission statement can sound like the Nebula widgets are unstable, otherwise they would have moved to SWT :

The Nebula project is a source for custom SWT widgets and other UI components. Nebula is also an incubator for SWT. Some Nebula widgets will graduate into SWT and therefore into the main Eclipse Platform.

The reality is different :

  • Several Nebula widget were developped for real world applications and were contributed once completed in order to share the code base with the Eclipse community.

  • Additionnal stable widgets are currently being contributed from other Eclipse projects.

  • The graduation is unlikely to happen, for several good reasons like toolkit size and dedication to native widgets even if it contains a few custom ones.

Tom Schindl, Nebula co-lead with Chris Gross, pointed this problem out in a recent mail to the dev list and according to the number of “+1″ he got, the statement is likely to be changed very soon.

On the stable/unstable topic, an idea (as discussed previously on the dev list) was to provide more visibility by grouping the widgets by status (stable/alpha/dormant) and to do releases of stable ones as soon as possible.

Nightly builds :

The binary downloads have been removed from the Nebula website for some time now. The reason was simple : the build process was down and all downloads were several months old. They were also not conforming to the incubation status so we simply removed them.

Nightly builds are now back on the download page. The build process is using althena (cbi) on and can run unit tests. As a result, junit tests results are also available alongside of the binaries.

Note : we haven’t finished setting up the build process for every widget yet, more downloads will be added soon. Progress can be monitored on bug 237588.

Our next move is to build on hudson.

Nebula Examples :

The example project page has been restored.

This project is also built nightly and can be downloaded as binary or simply installed from the update site.

An official webstart version will be available as soon as I can host it on (Eclipse webmaster please comment bug 270617 :) ).

I’ve published a stable (not nightly) version of the Gallery widget : 0.5.2_R_0_20090418.

Even if the project itself is still in incubation, this version of the Gallery widget is stable enough to be used in RCP application or plugins. Be sure to read the release notes page which points out stable/unstable features and the explaination of the incubation phase (What is Incubation) on

With that version, a javadoc is available.

Don’t forget to report bugs if any !

That’s all for today, I hope to have more news to blog about soon :-).