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SWT Cocoa Call for Volunteers


Steve Northover (father of SWT) posted today on his blog news that the SWT team was looking for help with the SWT Cocoa port.  As far as I know, they’ve been working on this for about two weeks, and they’ve already managed to get Eclipse to start – but only through the use of not-so-subtle hackery.

Unfortunately for us (the unwary users), Steve says that they’ve run out of time to work on the Cocoa port, given the pace of the 3.4 stream and its rapidly approaching feature freeze (only a few months away).  A Cocoa port of SWT is something that would benefit everyone, but most especially those who use Eclipse on Mac.  At the risk of sounding melodramatic, it’s probably the most important SWT effort currently in progress.  Apple’s been pretty clear that Cocoa is the future of UI on the Mac.  Most pundits agree that if Carbon isn’t gone in the next MacOS X release, it certainly will be in the one after that.  It is absolutely vital to the future of Eclipse that this port is carried through at the highest caliber.

So, if you’re an Objective-C maven, or just want to help out on a very interesting project, ring up the developers on the platform-swt-dev mailing-list.  I’d help out myself, but I know nothing about Objective-C.  SWT’s a great project to contribute to, even if you don’t completely agree with its purpose.  May the hacking begin!


  1. Daniel,

    You don’t need to know Objective-C. SWT is implemented 100% in Java (with 1-to-1 bindings to the native libraries). Go ahead and look at the source to see what I mean.


    Steve Northover Saturday, November 17, 2007 at 11:09 am
  2. Very true (and I should have been more clear on that). At the risk of sounding “gushy”, SWT is an incredibly easy project to contribute to, even with no knowledge of the native language. The way the internal API works, it’s like you’re writing code directly using the native libraries in pure Java. (similar to how the JNA project allows you to do it in your own apps)

    Daniel Spiewak Saturday, November 17, 2007 at 11:14 am
  3. But ALAIK, right now the mappings are to the Carbon APIs, but someone has to remap to Cocoa APIs, so still some Cocoa knowledge seems necessary (?)

    Bryan Monday, November 19, 2007 at 8:45 am
  4. It’s not a remapping, it’s a clean-room port (well, clean-room in the sense that it’s not using any platform-specific code from a prior port). So, really Cocoa knowledge is exactly what’s necessary. That and a basic familiarity with Objective-C, since I guarantee not every required function is bound.

    Daniel Spiewak Monday, November 19, 2007 at 8:49 am
  5. Hm, it’s been some time ago since I developed Cocoa applications but I think I still remember quite a lot. And I know Java pretty well though I have only basic knowledge on SWT (more focus on J2EE/Spring/Wicket/Tapestry). But maybe I can help a bit anyway.

    Lars Hoss Monday, November 19, 2007 at 9:43 am

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