To start with the obvious, one of the advantages of an OSS project is that you use the source code to study, modify, or improve the software as you see fit. In a large project, like BIRT, it can be difficult to get the source. Worse, the documentation for fetching the source changes with each build. No one likes to writes docs, but having to re-write docs is particularly tedious.
In the Eclipse world there are two mechanisms that can be used to help tame these project structures and make it easier to get and build the source code from the version control systems. The release engineering (releng) systems is a comprehensive system that is used to fetch, build and release the Eclipse projects, including BIRT. Unfortunately, the releng process has a relatively high barrier to entry for someone that is un-familiar with the Eclipse process (its complicated).
The more user focused mechanism for getting a collection of projects from a version control system is the Team Project Set. Developers can create a Project Set File (PSF) that describes the repositories, projects, and version tags that make up a collection. Users can use the Import => Team => Team Project Set functionality in the Java Perspective to fetch the projects specified in the PSF.
I have created a simple program that uses the map files that are core to the RelEng process to build PSF files for the BIRT project. I am working to get this added to the BIRT version control system, but I am hoping to get some feedback on the files before we commit this to the BIRT project.
Here are the direct links to the PSF files:
I currently have the PSF files set up to pull the current release candidates from BIRT and DTP respectively.
If you would like to pull a different version of the source you have a couple of options. First you can pull the PSF files and then just do a string substitution on the version tags. The other option is to use a subversion client (subclipse or subversive) to check out the conversion project from version control. The project that builds the PSf files is located on my subversion server at http://longlake.minnovent.com/repos/birt_example.
Next you need to pull the org.eclipse.birt.releng project from the dev.eclipse.org server using the /cvsroot/birt repository. The project can be found under the Head/source folder, anonymous will work as the user name. Remember you will want to pull the version of the releng project that matches the version you are trying to get from CVS.
Now you have to open up the ConvertMapToPsf.java file and change lines 30 and 31 to use the appropriate CVS version tags. You will need to lookup the tags from CVS. The other popular tag you will want is the BIRT Ganymede Release 2.3.0:
If you have any problems with the Team Project Sets let me know. Hopefully we will have this in the product and a part of the BIRT web site soon, your feedback will be helpful.
EDITED TO ADD: Is anyone using stackoverflow.com? I have been following this startup question and answer site for a while. If you have questions or comments maybe you want to post them on the related post at stackoverflow.com. Here is the Post