Eclipse readies record number of releases

The Eclipse Foundation will put out on Wednesday its annual release train, this time featuring the simultaneous release of technologies from 33 different open-source project teams in spaces ranging from mobile to SOA to the base Eclipse platform.

Occurring each June since 2004, the release train has grown from two projects initially to 23 projects last year, and now, 33 project teams as part of a release train dubbed "Galileo." The full list of projects comes out to 38 projects, with some teams handling multiple projects. Upgrades and new projects are featured.

"It's definitely larger, 33 projects and 23 million lines of code," said Ian Skerrett, Eclipse director of marketing. While end users can download the projects to use themselves, a key goal of Eclipse is for commercial companies to take the base Eclipse technologies and add enhancements of their own.

With the single release train, users can upgrade projects at the same time, said Skerrett. All told, Eclipse is working on 100 projects, including some not in Galileo, such as the Eclipse Pulsar project to provide unity in application development for mobile systems.

Key projects in Galileo include the 1.0 version of the Swordfish SOA runtime, serving as an enterprise service bus, and the 3.5 release of the base Eclipse Platform. The base technology features the Java IDE, a workbench and the core OSGi runtime, which adds support for the Mac on the Cocoa platform and also supports Solaris 10. Eclipse Platform is a subproject of Eclipse Project.

Also featured in Galileo is version 2.1 of the PHP Development Tools Project, which backs PHP 5.3 and its capabilities such as namespaces and anonymous functions. Xtext, a new project also identified as Textual Modeling Framework, enables modeling of DSLs (domain-specific languages). "This is very similar what Microsoft is trying to do with [its Oslo project] and its M language," said Skerrett.

"What a DSL allows you to do is define a higher-level abstraction that allows developers to focus on smaller subsets in a specific problem domain," such as pharmaceuticals, Skerrett said.

Also, the Eclipse Equinox project in Galileo is supporting OSGi 4.2.

Genuitec, a vendor leveraging Eclipse technologies in its commercial products such as the MyEclipse IDE, expressed excitement about capabilities in Galileo. "The ecosystem continues to keep benefitting," from overall expanded capabilities of Eclipse, said Wayne Parrott, Genuitec vice president of product development.

Eclipse, however, has not encroached on Genuitec's commercial space, Parrott said. "Basically, there are a large number of gaps," with Eclipse focusing on frameworks and third-party companies able to extend Eclipse software, he said.

"Eclipse is funded by a number of companies that have an interest so Eclipse itself, while it does provide a good set of tools, as far as providing full end-to-end solutions, that's where they've left that up to the ecosystem," Parrott said. MyEclipse, for instance, offers capabilities linking from a database to a Web client, he said.

Another Eclipse-based vendor, Instantiations, is ready to announce Galileo and Eclipse 3.5 backing in such products as CodePro AnalytiX for code analysis.

"Our company basically has had its success over the last eight or nine years based on our investment in Eclipse," said Eric Clayberg, vice president of product development for Instantiations.

Other features of Galileo include:

  • Improvements to the report designer and performance in the Business Intelligence Reporting Tools (BIRT) project.
  • XSL tooling for editing and debugging.
  • Mylyn WikiText support for editing and parsing wiki markup.
  • A Memory Analyzer tool for analyzing memory consumption of Java applications.

Eclipse, meanwhile, is working on Eclipse 4.0, which is an upgrade to the base platform intended to make Eclipse more of a services-based platform rather than offering it as one cohesive unit. A services paradigm will make it easier to access services and capabilities such as REST interfaces or JavaScript calls in the base platform.

Next year's release train is to be called Helios, which would break from a naming scheme that has seen the release trains named after a moon of Jupiter. Skerrett said he was unaware why Eclipse has changed its naming strategy.

Eclipse download figures are trending upward, Skerrett said. "We get around 1 million downloads a month," he said. A couple of years ago, the figure was about 600,000 downloads per month.

The full list of Galileo projects can be found at Eclipse's Web page.

This story, "Eclipse readies record number of releases" was originally published by InfoWorld.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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