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Mylyn 2.0 Keeps You Focused on the Task at Hand : Page 2

The Eclipse Europa release includes a powerful productivity-boosting tool called Mylyn, which uses novel techniques to help you focus on just the information you need for a given task. Find out how Mylyn 2.0 can make you more productive.

Task Management in Mylyn
The first and most fundamental feature of Mylyn is task and issue tracking. At its most basic level, Mylyn lets you manage your own personal to-do list from within Eclipse, using the Task List view (see Figure 2). From here, you can create a new task using the contextual menu.

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Figure 2. Managing Tasks in Mylyn

The Mylyn task screen provides a lot of useful fields for personal productivity, such as priority, status, due date, estimated time, and so on. The Mylyn task list view (see Figure 3) is a joy to use thanks to an abundance of visual queues designed to help you focus on only the most important tasks at any given point. For example, Mylyn dims completed tasks, or you can choose to have it mask them entirely. Overdue tasks appear with a red clock icon, high-priority tasks with an exclamation mark, and so on. You can also choose to focus on the current week, or display only high-priority tasks.

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Figure 3. The Mylyn Task List View

Managing your tasks is easy too. With a simple right click, the contextual menu lets you reschedule a task or mark it as complete.

Integrating Mylyn with External Systems
Since tasks come in many forms (such as bug fixes and change requests) and often come from external sources (such as tasks assigned by the project manager), Mylyn boasts excellent integration with issue-management systems such as Bugzilla, JIRA, and Trac. The development version also includes support for Xplanner, a web-based, agile project-management tool.

Mylyn's integration features are based on the notion of task repositories, which you manage in the Task Repository view. You add a separate task repository for each external issue or task source with which you interact. For example, you may need to connect to different repositories for different projects, or connect to an XPlanner server in addition to your normal issue-tracking system.

Once you've added repositories, you need to set up queries to view the actual issues or tasks. For example, you might set up a JIRA query that returns all the issues assigned to you, or an XPlanner query that returns all the tasks in the current iteration. The query screen varies depending on the targeted issue-management system, but all give a wide range of query criteria and options (see Figure 4 for an example of a Trac repository).

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Figure 4. Creating a Query Using a Trac Repository

When you have set up the query, you can view and even modify the retrieved issues. Indeed, Mylyn gives you the same power and flexibility updating an issue from within Eclipse as you would get in the original application. Mylyn automatically synchronizes with the repository on a regular basis and notifies you of any new issues in real time via a small, IM-style popup window.

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