For the past six years, the Eclipse Foundation has delivered an annual release train of open source development projects that has kept growing. In 2012, the Eclipse Release train (codenamed Juno) is shipping a record 72 projects encompassing 55 million lines of code. In contrast, the first Eclipse release train (codenamed Callisto) back in 2006 had only 10 projects.
“It’s not just about the fact that we’re shipping all these projects on the same day,” Mike Milinkovitch, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation, said. “It’s a large amount of software and a non-trivial exercise to produce, with over 400 committers from 49 organizations.”
Eclipse 4 Platform Rolled Out
Of particular note in the Juno release is Eclipse 4 (known for years as E4), the first major update to the core Eclipse IDE in years.
“This is the release where we are switching to Eclipse 4, so all packages are moving towards it,” Milinkovitch said. “It’s important to note that a lot of work went into backwards compatibility.”
The vast majority of the projects in Juno are not actually using any of the new features of Eclipse 4, according to Milinkovitch. Instead, they rely on the backwards compatibility with Eclipse 3.
Milinkovitch added that what developers will like about Eclipse 4 is that it is more flexible.
“Right now in Eclipse there are lots of hard-coded relationships,” Milinkovitch said. “Those become more flexible with Eclipse 4 and developers down the road will be able to build better applications with greater ease.”
Eclipse 4 also includes the ability to use CSS to style the UI, which should help in the building process for applications as well.
As to the future of Eclipse 4, Milinkovitch expects the next Eclipse release train in 2013 to be more focused on getting projects to use Eclipse 4 natively, instead of just using the compatibility layer.
New Eclipse Project: Code Recommenders
Among the new projects in Juno is the Code Recommenders project, which is all about improving Eclipse code completion. The Eclipse Foundation explains that Code Recommenders recommends proper API usage to developers just like Amazon recommends related items to shoppers.
“Code Recommenders is an interesting new project and a game changer for developers that are leveraging it,” Milinkovitch said.