The universal intro is complete, ready out-of-the-box implementation of intro with a pre-defined page structure that all products can rely on (as API). It is a complete implementation, including presentation, but without content, and can be used by any product.
Prior to 3.2, the intro framework provided for defining welcome pages with unique contribution points or 'anchors'. Other components could provide extensions that add content into these anchors. Although this mechanism worked well for closed solutions, it is increasingly hard to maintain for large products. Due to the 'bottom-up' nature of contributions from clients into the welcome pages, it is hard to control the final result and resolve conflicting contributions.
Take, for example, the provider of a reusable eclipse feature. He/she has created a useful feature consisting of a number of plug-ins. The feature can take part in several products, each one having its own Welcome implementation. There are several problems that the feature provider will face when creating Welcome contribution:
It is clear that the Welcome contribution of a reusable feature is be much easier to develop with the following conditions in place:
The universal intro is based on experience with intro implementations and the need to have an implementation in place that contributors can count on. The implementation is built using the existing intro framework, and for this reason, all existing intro implementation will continue to work and clients will be able to switch to the new model according to their schedules. Of course, as long as they don't switch, they will not reap the benefits of the new implementation such as intelligent content merging, new visual solution etc.
Some of the benefits of using the universal intro include: