JavaThe Momentum of Eclipse

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Eclipse Eclipse Eclipse…That is most of what I heard last week. I had numerous emails, press releases, and conference calls about Eclipse. I was starting to dream about Eclipse come Friday night. It is normal for announcements to be made and products to be released around the time of conferences. This time is no exception with Eclipsecon2005 occurring this week.

Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of Eclipse says that his vision of Eclipse is to “Create a universal development platform which provides tools spanning the entire development lifecycle.” The recent developments at the Eclipse Foundation are making great strides to make that happen.

Big Announcements from The Eclipse Foundation

  • Four new Strategic Developer partners: BEA, Scapa, Sybase, and Borland.
    To become a Strategic Developer a company pays yearly dues of 250,000, occupies a seat on the board, leads products, and devotes 8 developers to Eclipse projects.
  • Three New Projects: Test and Performance Tools Platform Project, Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools Project, and Web Tools Platform Project
  • Eclipsecon2005 is sold out, including exhibits and tutorials!

Company Contributions


BEA is really putting its money (and efforts) where its mouth is. As part of BEA’s commitment, it has offered to co-lead the Web Tools Platform (WTP) project, which develops tooling infrastructure to support J2EE and Web-enabled application development. BEA plans to incorporate WTP capabilities into future releases of BEA WebLogic Workshop. To date, BEA has invested $1.5 million in money personnel, and code.

BEA is also proposing a new Language Development Tools project, new Eclipse plug-ins for its JRockit JVM, and is also merging its open source AspectWerkz project with the Eclipse AspectJ project. The merger of its AspectWerkz project with the Eclipse AspectJ projectis designed to provide a single unified platform for aspect-oriented programming. These plans are designed to benefit both the BEA and Eclipse communities by helping to increase the flexibility of the Eclipse framework and supporting industry convergence around Eclipse as a single development platform in order to help make Java development easier. AspectJ is expected to release in the summer.

In addition to demonstrating its commitment to the Eclipse Foundation through leadership, BEA today also announced new product plans representing a major technology commitment to Eclipse. Code-named Daybreak, the next version of BEA WebLogic Workshop, the company’s integrated development environment, will be designed to support the Eclipse framework. Daybreak will offer a broad enterprise development environment comprising Workshops award-winning ease-of-use features and high-productivity application framework for the development of service-oriented architectures, along with the high-quality Eclipse tooling framework and an array of Eclipse plug-ins.

When Pieter Humphrey, Senior Product Marketing Manager, BEA Systems, was asked why they are joining now they replied that Eclipse has reached critical mass. Eclipse is showing momentum, quality, and independence. BEA wants the ability to influence Eclipse and lead key projects that dovetail with BEA products.


Sybase is proposing a new Data Tools Project at Eclipse. The goal of the project is to work with the Eclipse community in developing a comprehensive data management tooling framework.


From its launch in December 2002, Scapa led the new Eclipse Hyades Tools Project until it was restructured as the Eclipse Test and Performance Tools Platform (TPTP) Project in August 2004. Dr. Norman now leads the Testing Tools Project within TPTP


As part of this increased investment, Borland will expand its use of Eclipse as a platform across its Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) product line. In an effort to drive ALM advancements on the Eclipse platform, Borland will also lead the proposal for a new graphical modeling framework that would build upon, bridge and extend the existing modeling technology within the Eclipse community.

Modeling continues to gain traction as enterprises look to reduce IT complexity, improve team efficiency and collaboration and more closely connect IT and business requirements. It is an important element of Borland’s Software Delivery Optimization strategy and Borland will make a significant investment in expanding Eclipse to better address this area.

Eclipse announcement from IBM

To help developers streamline their Apache Derby database development using the Eclipse framework, IBM has made available a set of new plug-ins that help developers edit, compile, debug, execute and deploy general purpose Java applications. Available on IBM’s online development community developerWorks (, these plug-ins for Eclipse offer features to connect to various databases, including IBM Cloudscape and Apache Derby. In addition, the new IBM integration plug-in for Derby integrates many useful Derby tools into the Eclipse framework.

In addition, several new Eclipse-based technologies are available for download on IBM’s alphaWorks website, including:

  • alphaWorks Web Tools for Eclipse — aimed at helping reduce the development time of Java Web applications, it consists of a subset of the plug-ins in IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software.
  • The Web Services Interface Definition for Intrusion Defense — an Eclipse plug-in which validates the WSDL interface specification of a Web service, flagging any interface feature that could open a door to hacker attacks against that service.
  • The Model Transformation Framework (MTF) — a set tools to help developers make comparisons, check consistency and implement transformations between Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF) models.
  • The Emfatic Language for EMF Development — an Eclipse Modeling Framework which models in textual form. Emfatic offers a very simple and direct way to create and edit Ecore models with its syntax very intuitive to programmers familiar with Java.
  • Partitioning Facility Editor for WebSphere Extended Deployment (WASXD) – an Eclipse plug-in that enables users to create partitions.xml files that can be used to define a WASXD application’s partitions and partition expressions.

Separately, IBM also announced that the Eclipse Voice Tools Project, jointly submitted to the Eclipse Foundation by IBM, HP, SBC Communications and VoiceGenie, has now been granted project status. IBM’s initial contribution to the Voice Tools Project will be speech markup editors aimed at making it easier for developers to write standards-based speech applications as well as create and utilize reusable dialog components (RDCs) within those applications. RDCs are Java Server Page (JSP) tags that enable dynamic development of voice applications and multimodal user interfaces. The Voice Tools project will not only give speech developers a standard way of writing VoiceXML applications, but also allow web developers to easily add speech access to their web applications.

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