Progress Software joins Eclipse

Application infrastructure provider becomes open source tools organization's newest member

Progress Software on Monday will announce its membership in the Eclipse Foundation  for open source tooling. With this move, Progress will follow companies such as Borland Software and BEA Systems in joining the IBM-spawned Eclipse organization.

As part of its Eclipse commitment, Progress will include Eclipse-based visual development tools in release 10.1 of the company’s OpenEdge 4GL-based application development and deployment environment. The release is due in September. Progress' Real Time Division product set features the visual tools now.

“When we look at our tools initiatives and strategies across operating units, it certainly made sense to base them on one common platform,” Progress CTO Gordon Van Huizen said. Doing so enables sharing of development expertise across the company’s operating units and drives commonality across Progress toolsets.

Over time, tools from all of the Progress operating units will migrate to Eclipse, Van Huizen said. This includes tools for the Sonic Software enterprise service bus as well as DataDirect data connectivity offerings.

Eclipse provides core functionality such as an IDE and tools framework, Van Huizen noted.

“I think software vendors across the board benefit from having a common, rich foundation for their toolset," he said. "What it allows us to do is focus on our own value-add instead of reinventing the wheel."

Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst at ZapThink, called Progress’s participation in Eclipse “great news.”

“In general, there is an inevitable trend towards any development environment using Eclipse as its IDE,” Schmelzer said in an e-mail. “Most companies now realize there's little value in developing and promoting their own development environment over using what's now becoming a very popular platform. So, Eclipse is the way to go! Expect to see more such announcements.”

Sun Microsystems and Microsoft remain perhaps the only major holdouts on Eclipse. With Eclipse being largely a Java-driven initiative, it seems unlikely that Microsoft would join. Sun, while contemplating joining Eclipse in recent years, has nonetheless continued to promote its own NetBeans open source toolset, as it did heavily at the JavaOne conference in late June. Sun in May cited 4.6 million downloads of NetBeans over five years, with a quarter of that amount occurring in the previous six months.

Eclipse has pegged its number of downloads at more than 50 million.

“I honestly don’t see a great deal of adoption of NetBeans moving forward. I think the market has spoken and vendors have spoken,” Van Huizen said. He added he expects Sun to eventually subscribe to Eclipse but acknowledged that he had not spoken with Sun officials about the subject in about two years.

Progress will be a plug-in provider member within Eclipse, Van Huizen said.

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