JavaHelios Release Delivers 39 Open Source Projects for Eclipse IDE

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For the past seven years, the Eclipse Foundation has presided over a coordinated release train of Eclipse projects. This year, the Eclipse Helios release train continues the tradition, providing 39 different open source projects and over 33 million lines of code. The Helios project tally improves on the 33 project included with 2009’s Eclipse Galileo release train.

The project releases include, Java, JavaScript and PHP IDEs as well as Web tool, modeling and runtime projects. While the Eclipse Helios release is an open source effort, the goal behind the coordinated release is all about encouraging commercial adoption.

“We do release trains because over years of experience, we’ve found that predictability is one of the things that vendors value,” Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, told “Vendors want to make their release plans with a high degree of certainty that they’ll get what they need from Eclipse, so they can build their product plans accordingly.”

Among the new projects being included with Eclipse Helios are the egit and jgit projects that support the Git source code management technology. A recent survey done by Eclipse reported that the Eclipse community was increasingly using Git within their development efforts.

“We’re also starting to use Git internally at Eclipse as one of the supported source code control systems,” Milinkovich said.

Eclipse Helios is also shipping with the new JavaScript Development Tools project (JSDT) IDE for JavaScript developers.

“What we’re trying to provide is a real IDE for JavaScript developers,” Milinkovich said. “What we see out there is a lot of JavaScript developers that aren’t using modern IDEs and we think that Eclipse can help address that need.”

Better integration with Linux

Linux users will also be getting a boost with the Eclipse Helios release via an updated Linux IDE package.

“Basically in the past year, the Linux Tools project has made a lot of progress so they’re now pulling in support in the IDE for quite a few popular Linux tools including RPM, Valgrind, Autotools and others,” Milinkovich said. “So there is much better integration with Linux tools.”

Eclipse is also aiming to make it easier for developers to find plugins for Eclipse projects more easily with the new Eclipse Marketplace Client. Milinkovich noted that for the Helios release, the marketplace will show approximately 100 plugins with the number set to grow over time. The plugins will be a mix of both open source as well as commercial plugins offered by Eclipse member companies.

The Eclipse Helios release also includes an updated version of the core Eclipse IDE itself with new comment formatting and patching support.

Eclipse and NetBeans in Joint Development?

Over the past seven years, Eclipse, both as an IDE and as a community, has in part been in competition with the Sun-led NetBeans effort, which is now run by Eclipse Foundation member Oracle. Last week, Oracle released NetBeans 6.9 including new JavaFX capabilities.

With Oracle now in control of NetBeans, Milinkovich thinks that it might be time to bring the Eclipse and NetBeans communities together.

“Having NetBeans and Eclipse competing with each other in offering free IDEs for Java developers is not helping Java any longer. So we’d be open to doing something to bring those communities together. The big win is that it’s not the Eclipse or the NetBeans community, it’s the Java community.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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