SPARK Plugin for Eclipse Documentation

Author: Ken Conley
NOTE: This document applies to SPARK-IDE version 0.3 (circa August 2004)

Eclipse is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). While it is primarily used by Java developers for writing, running, debugging, and testing Java code, the Eclipse Web site describes the tool as, "an IDE for anything, and nothing in particular."

The Eclipse environment contains tools for navigating through the files of a project, editing those files, and running those files. For developers, it also supports debugging of programs and has integrated tools for managing those projects via CVS.

An introductory tutorial to the Eclipse platform is available at: (4.7 MB)

SPARK-IDE is an extension to the Eclipse environment that allows you to edit, run, and debug SPARK-L code in a graphical environment. Its features can be broken down into four main parts:

Editing SPARK-L files:

SPARK-IDE adds syntax highlighting of SPARK-L files and autocomplete editing features.

Running SPARK process models:

SPARK-L files can be run within Eclipse via the Eclipse 'Run->Debug' menu. SPARK-IDE provides a graphical interface for editing your runtime parameters and also attempts to set many of these paramters automatically. SPARK-IDE can also streamline the process of starting SPARK by allowing you to save different configurations for each process model and perform actions such as automatically connecting to an OAA facilitator or SHAKEN knowledge base.

Debugging SPARK process models:

SPARK-IDE allows you to debug SPARK process models within Eclipse using Eclipse's debugging features. These debugging features allow you to pause the SPARK interpreter and step through the execution of your SPARK-L code line by line. While stepping, SPARK-IDE highlights the line of SPARK-L code being executed and also allows you to view the values of local variables, evaluate predicates and functions, and observe the SPARK agent's current Intentions.

Other tools:

SHAKEN: tool for querying SHAKEN knowledge bases via the ask interface.

OAA Monitor: rudimentary integrated OAA Monitor tool for viewing OAA communications inside of Eclipse.

SPARK-IDE is a fairly new plugin and should be considered pre-alpha. There are likely to be bugs, and there will also be new features being added on a frequent basis. As such, bug reports as well as recommendations for new feature or changes to the plugin are greatly appreciated.