‘Tis the season for giving.
Google is donating the source code for two new open source projects at the Eclipse Foundation. The WindowBuilder Java GUI designer and the CodePro Profiler technologies were both acquired by Google from developer tools vendor Instantiations in August of this year.
The new projects will join the annual Eclipse release train in 2011, which is a coordinated release of over 30 Eclipse projects. With the WindowBuilder and CodeProfiler code donations, Google is aiming to help the Eclipse Foundation with technologies that will help to enable a more comprehensive set of Java tool solutions.
“We estimate that the value of the entire contribution is north of five million dollars,” Eric Clayberg, software engineering manager for Google Developer Tools, formerly co-founder at Instantiations told InternetNews.com.
The WindowBuilder framework is an extensible engine for building Java GUI development tools and will become the Eclipse WindowBuilder project. Clayberg will become the Eclipse WindowBuilder project lead and will be joined by 15 committers from Google as well as six developers from outside of Google. The CodePro Profiler technology project inside of Eclipse will be led by staff from tools vendors OnPositive, which had been a partner of Instantiations.
“These are Eclipse plugins to start with, so the Eclipse Foundation is a natural home for them,” Clayberg said. “At Eclipse, both these projects fill some holes in the current Eclipse offerings in the GUI tools and profiling space, so we think that there is a bigger benefit to open sourcing these tools through Eclipse, as opposed to the standard Google Code open sourcing.”
Clayberg added that Google’s GWT (Google Web Tools) Designer Tool is built on top of the WindowBuilder engine, and as such Google still has a very strong interest in staying very involved with Eclipse WindowBuilder.
Google does not have a model for commercialization when it comes to developer tools, which is where other vendors will step up to the plate. Clayberg noted that tools vendor Genuitec will have committers on the Eclipse WindowBuilder project and they will also provide commercial-level support for WindowBuilder tools.
“These were commercial tools at Instantiations and we used to sell commercial support,” Clayberg said. “Commercial tool support is not really Google’s business, so we were looking for some partners that would come in and fill that void and provide support to those former Instantiations customers.”
When it comes to tools development, Clayberg noted that Google gives tools away for free in an effort to make it easier for people to build applications.
CodePro Profiler is a tool that Java developers can use to help identify performance and efficiency issues.
“CodePro Profiler is a native Eclipse profiler built from the ground up in Eclipse,” Clayberg said. “Eclipse really needs a nice Java built-in profile analysis tool, as it really doesn’t have one.”
In some cases, new projects at Eclipse do not jump on the annual release train in their first year, but that’s not going to be the case with Google’s Eclipse WindowBuilder.
“It really is a fully baked commercial project,” Clayberg said. “It has been developed at Instantiations for the last seven years and carried forward at Google. So it’s not like it’s a brand new untested piece of code.”
Google is involved with Eclipse in other areas as well. Earlier this year, Google Code became the host for Eclipse Labs, which is an effort for project development outside of the core Eclipse project structure. Moving forward, Google is likely to continue to support Eclipse.
“As far as Eclipse at Google, Google is very much interested in the enterprise development community and helping those folks build better applications,” Clayberg said. “The more we can help Eclipse, the more we can help developers to build Web applications, which is something we are very interested in.”
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.