Open SourceEclipse Pushing Orion Development with New Hub

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The Eclipse Foundation is well known for its desktop IDE. Since January of this year, Eclipse has been working on a new type of IDE, the browser-based Orion development tool.

Now, Orion is evolving with the new OrionHub effort announced this week. OrionHub is a hosted implementation of Orion, enabling developers to easily get started with the new development tool.

Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation told that the goal of OrionHub is not to launch Eclipse into the cloud services business. That said, OrionHub is currently hosted on Eclipse’s own infrastructure. Moving forward Milinkovich said that the Eclipse Foundation is looking to partner to see how Orion and OrionHub can be leveraged for some kind of managed cloud service offering.

“We don’t want Eclipse to be in the business of building and supporting our own cloud,” Milinkovich said.

Eclipse is however in the business of building developer tools. Orion has evolved over the last few months and at the top level now has a slicker user interface. Milinkovich explained that the development team invested some time into make the user interface more attractive and usable.

Milinkovich also noted that the Orion now also provides developers with Git version control integration. There is also a change editor so two versions of a file can be compared.

“Basically by putting some of the basics of Git underneath the Orion workspace, developers can leverage a lot of capabilities,” Milinkovich said.

Orion now also enables developers to create, edit, delete or launch a website for testing. It also includes a built in Jetty Web server for rapid development.

“For people that are using Orion to build a website, that’s a handy feature,” Milinkovich said.

Work has also been ongoing in developing client-side plugins for Orion. Milinkovich noted that the integration mechanism for plugins is essentially just a URL with a set of extension points, which makes it very lightweight.

“The Orion team is really working hard to make sure that the integration story of Orion is a much lighter weight architecture than the plugin architecture that we have for Eclipse,” Milinkovich said. “It works great on the desktop, but it’s too heavyweight for how the Web works.”

While the Eclipse Foundation is moving forward on Orion development, there still is not yet a formal project set up under the Foundation. Milinkovich noted that developers are working on a project proposal now and currently Orion is in the Eclipse incubator. He added that to date, there has been a lot of interest in Orion from Eclipse members.

Milinkovich said that one of the challenges is assembling all of the interested parties and turning them into a cohesive and productive Orion team.

“The next three months or so will be pretty important in making the Orion vision a reality,” Milinkovich said. “So far it looks very promising, but it’s a work in progress and there is always a chance that we won’t get the types of contribution that we want to be successful.”

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

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