Eclipse readies Ganymede release

OSGi, SOA, JavaScript improvements top list of enhancements in 23 projects

The Eclipse Foundation next week is set to offer its annual simultaneous release of open-source project updates, this time called the Ganymede Release and featuring improvements in the core OSGI-based component model and SOA tools.

All told, 23 projects are being upgraded in the Ganymede release train, ranging from the main Eclipse Project, featuring the Java IDE, to STP (SOA Tools Platform Project). Ganymede is to take flight on June 25. Release trains in 2007 and 2006 were called Europa and Callisto, respectively. All have been named after moons of Jupiter.

Highlighted in Ganymede are improvements to Equinox, the OSGi component model used in the main Eclipse Project, which includes the base IDE. "This is how different components of Eclipse talk to each other," said Ian Skerrett, Eclipse director of marketing.

A new provisioning platform in Equinox, called Provisioning Platform (p2), offers an improved mechanism for updates to installed or deployed applications, such as a new component to be distributed to the installed base. P2 is a reengineering of Update Manager tool.

"Basically, it simplifies the whole update process and provisioning process," said Skerrett. "The original one required a number of manual steps to ensure you have all the required plugins."

Dependencies between plugins are resolved.

Eclipses's effort to improve on Update Manager was lauded by an industry analyst.

"Many people in the Eclipse community -- including Eclipse project members -- have been frustrated with the Update Manager of late, and it'd be great to see that problem taken care of," analyst Michael Cote of RedMonk, said. "In the meantime, companies like Genuitec have stepped in with [its] Pulse offering for Eclipse package management. But seeing what Eclipse proper has to offer will be fun."

Security features also have been added to Equinox, including a facility called Secure Storage, providing encryption capabilities. If a developer, for example, were building an application on top of Equinox and needed to store a username and password, these would be kept in Secure Storage.

Support for Java Authentication Service is now in Equinox as well, enabling Web site visitors to be given different capabilities based on their level of authentication.

Tools for SOA development in Ganymede include a BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation) editor being added to STP. "Basically, it provides a visual tool for creating and editing BPMN," the standard scripting process flows in SOA applications, said Skerrett.

Two other tools are debuting in STP: SCA Designer (Service Component Architecture), providing a graphical interface for developers to build composite applications using SCA, and Policy Editor, a collection of editors and validators for constructing and manipulating XML expressions that conform to the WS-Policy standard.

In the modeling space, Eclipse is providing GUI tools. The ECore Tools technology is part of the Eclipse Modeling Framework and enables developers to manage data models.

The SQL Query Builder tool enables visual programming of queries as opposed to manually programming them, Skerrett said. SQL Query Builder is part of the Eclipse Data Tools Platform project.

A JavaScript editor in the Eclipse Web Tools Platform (WTP) project extends the IDE to enable JavaScript development. Developers can build Web applications based on AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML).

Also featured in Ganymede are bug fixes and various enhancements to the different projects. Rich AJAX Platform features the ability to customize look and feel using CSS and the Presentation Factories concept. Eclipse Communication Framework Project offers real-time shared editing and other features for collaboration.

The BIRT (Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools) project offers an improved JavaScript editor and debugger.

Eclipse has more than 95 projects underway, but only 23 were involved in Ganymede. "Each individual project [team] decides whether they want to participate," Skerrett said.

Ganymede's Web page can be found here. The full list of Ganymede projects and version numbers includes:

* Buckminster Component Assembly 1.0

* BIRT 2.3.0

* C/C++ Development Tool (CDT) 5.0

* DTP 1.6RC5

* Device Software Development Platform Project Device Debugging 1.0

* Device Software Development Platform Project Target Management 3.0

* Dynamic Languages Toolkit

* Eclipse Communication Framework Project 2.0.0

* Eclipse Model Framework Technology

* Eclipse Modeling Framework 2.4.0

* Eclipse Packaging Project 1.0.0

* Eclipse Project 3.4

* Eclipse Web Tools Platform Project 3.0.0

* Graphical Editor Framework 3.4.0

* Graphical Modeling Framework 2.1

* Model Development Tools. 1.1

* Model to Text 0.9.0

* Model-to-Model Transformation

* Mylyn 3.0 (task-focused UI)

* RAP 1.1

* STP 1.0

* Subversive (version control)

* Test and Performance Tools Platform Project 4.5.0

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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