Eclipse to detail platform, SOA plans at conference

Microsoft, IBM to ponder IDEs at EclipseCon 2009, while Eclipse will show off progress of its E4 platform

The Eclipse Foundation will cite at the EclipseCon 2009 conference this week the latest developments in areas ranging from the core Eclipse platform to SOA and modeling, including plans to make the platform available as Web services.

The open source tools organization will tout at the event in Santa Clara, Calif. progress of its planned E4 (Eclipse 4.0) platform, which represents the next generation of Eclipse. The popular Eclipse IDE is built on the base platform. A beta release of E4 is planned for this summer with a first release due in 2010, Eclipse Executive Director Mike Milinkovich said.

[ Related: Eclipse IDE at a crossroads. ]

Plans call for E4 to be implemented as a platform of services available over the Web; currently, Eclipse is implemented as tightly linked plug-ins. Developers could access E4 remotely over the Web.

"One of the scenarios we're hoping to [enable] is to be able to allow developers to work on code remotely through a Web browser," Milinkovich said. "That currently is quite difficult to do."

E4 also will offer improved UI capabilities to offer a more Web-like style of development using stylesheets and XML-based layout descriptors. A model-based approach will be used in the Eclipse workbench. "Right now, there's a lot of places in Eclipse where there's hard-coded relationships, and by modeling those relationships, we'll be able to build our UIs much more flexibly and much more rapidly" said Milinkovich. 

At the conference on Thursday, officials from Microsoft and IBM will participate in a session called "Darwin among the IDEs," which will ponder issues pertaining to the IDEs, such as how to deal with multicore and cloud development. Speakers include Tim Wagner, a former Eclipse official who is now principal development manager for the Visual Studio platform at Microsoft, and Kevin McGuire, an Eclipse UI architect at IBM.

In the runtime area, Eclipse will note the planned release of the first release of the Swordfish enterprise service bus for SOA deployments. Code is to be offered for Swordfish 0.8 in early April. "You use it to implement enterprise SOA applications," said Mike Milinkovich, Eclipse executive director.

Swordfish is based on OSGi and leverages open source projects like Eclipse Equinox and Apache ServiceMix. The release has not been called a 1.0-level release because the APIs are not fully ready, according to Milinkovich.

Other capabilities featured in Swordfish include support for distributed deployment and a runtime service registry for loose coupling of services. A monitoring framework tracks messages, and a remote configuration agent can configure distributed servers.

In another runtime-related development, Eclipse will announce its new jurisdiction over the Jetty Web server project. A competitor to Apache Tomcat, Jetty is small, lightweight, and be used as an embedded Web server in other applications, Milinkovich said. It also can be made to scale on larger machines.

Moving it to Eclipse from its previous home,, will give it broader community support, the benefit of intellectual property due diligence processes, and involvement with other pieces of the Eclipse runtime, Milinkovich said. Eclipse plans to ship Jetty 7 as its own first release of the project in June. Version 7 will feature support of the Java Servlet 3.0 specification.

"[The specification] basically defines how you write Web pages in Java or produce Web content in Java," said Milinkovich.

Another runtime to be promoted at the conference, EclipseLink 1.1, serves as a Java persistence runtime implementation of Java Persistence Architecture 2.0. Released on March 11, the runtime works with a relational database to get data in and out of Java programs.

Eclipse will also tout what it described as momentum in the modeling space. "We're seeing a lot of growth in modeling in Eclipse," Milinkovich said. There are eight different modeling projects within Eclipse, including Eclipse Modeling Framework.

A lot of the projects extend the framework into such areas as domain-specific languages via the XText project. Domain-specific languages are languages geared to a specific problem area, such as banking or insurance.

The conference also will air developments in industry vertical areas, such as the recent formation of the Eclipse Pulsar project for mobile applications as well as creation of industry workgroups for areas like development of a credit management framework. "The hope is banks would adopt this as the basis for their applications," Milinkovich said.

"Right now, every one of these organizations is basically building their own. We think it would be a lot more efficient [if] they collaborated on building just one implementation," Milinkovich said.

Also at EclipseCon on Monday, Red Hat will announce availability of JBoss Developer Studio 2.0 -- Portfolio Edition, offering a development environment to enhance the Eclipse-based toolset and adding the JBoss Enterprise Application, Portal, SOA, and Data Services Platforms. Developers can build rich Web and enterprise applications. JBoss Developer Studio -- Portfolio Edition is available via subscription. Developer support must be purchased separately.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.