The Eclipse Foundation announced Wednesday its Europa release train, which features technologies from 21 open-source projects.
Europa, which will be available for download on Friday at eclipse.org, features software updates in areas ranging from the base Java development platform to SOA, dynamic languages, and business intelligence.
"That represents 17 million lines of code, and that's being supported by 25 different organizations with committers working in 19 different countries," said Eclipse Executive Director Mike Milinkovich. "It's very much a multinational, worldwide scenario for pulling all these projects together."
In releasing so many project updates on the same day, Eclipse reasons that it reduces complexity for adopters and removes latency in waiting for projects to ship, Milinkovich said. Eclipse offers base open-source technologies in hopes that vendors build commercial products that leverage this software and tack on value-added capabilities. Developers also can use the tools as-is. Last year's Callisto release train had just 10 projects.
With Europa, Eclipse has made it easier to download projects through development of four customized packages. These are geared to the needs of Java IDE users, J2EE developers, Eclipse Rich Client Platform and Plug-in developers, and C and C++ developers. "They can come and basically get a one-click download," Milinkovich said.
Eclipse's joint release of multiple projects assists ISVs who have their own release schedules to follow, said Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Even with the uniform release date, Eclipse still must release APIs more frequently than once a year, said Gardner. Developers have to keep this mind, he said.
A user also liked the release format.
"I really admire what they're doing with the coordinated release," said Patrick Paulin, an Eclipse user and self-employed consultant with his firm, RCP Quickstart.
"As a user of multiple projects, it really helps me to coordinate, to not have to worry about which versions work with [which] versions, that I can migrate all the things that I need all at one time," Paulin said.
Windows Vista support in Europa was cited as a benefit by Paulin. Specifically, the Standard Widget Toolkit and Rich Client Platform, which are both part of Eclipse Platform 3.3, will enable development of applications that can run on Vista.
Among the technologies shipping is Buckminster 0.1, geared for large, distributed software development projects. "What Buckminster is about is a set of frameworks and tools for automating software builds, assemblies, and deployments," Milinkovich said.
The STP (SOA Tools Project) 0.6 release debuting in Europa provides a Business Process Modeling Notation modeling tool. "It's a way to draw out your business processes in an Eclipse-based editor," said Milinkovich.
Developers using STP also can create and deploy SOA applications on top of Java API for XML Web Services (JAX-WS) and Service Component Architecture (SCA) runtimes.
Gardner cited Eclipse's SOA effort as a highlight of Europa.
"I think that there is going to be an opportunity for a graphical approach to SOA and modeling, and like any other aspect of the tools market, people expect [tools] to be open source, and they expect them to be free," Gardner said.