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Eclipse 'Kepler' Release Train Coming June 26

The Eclipse Foundation is set to announce the eighth annual synchronized launch of multiple Eclipse projects and project upgrades this week.

This year's Release Train, code-named "Kepler" and due on June 26, comprises a total of 71 open source projects, as well as the latest upgrade of the Eclipse Project, which comprises the Platform, the JDT, and the PDE. Last year's Juno release also included 71 projects, up from 62 the previous year.

"The size of the release train seems to be stabilizing," Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, told this site. "I expect it to continue to grow slightly, but I think it's starting to level off a bit, which I think is a good thing."

Taken together, the projects in the Kepler release comprise 58 million lines of code written by 420 committers in 54 supporting organizations. 

The list of new projects in this year's release train includes EMF Diff/Merge, a diff/merge tool for models; Sphinx, a modeling tool platform that "eases the development of IDE-like tool support for modeling languages used in software and systems development;" Stardust, a business process modeling tool from SunGard; and the Maven Integration for Web Tools Platform (M2E-WTP) project. This latter project provides a set of connectors between the Maven Integration for Eclipse and the Maven plug-in-based build management system.

The latest version of the WTP project, which is also one of the projects in the release train, supports app development with the very recently released Java Enterprise Edition 7. "I think this is the quickest we've ever been able to provide support for a new version of Java EE," Milinkovich said. "You have good solid tooling, code generation, and deployment support for all the new features in that release. Enterprise Java developers are big part of our core franchise, and being able to get EE 7 support this quickly is good for the community."

Milinkovich also noted that the Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) project has added big data reporting in its 4.2.2 release with support for the MongoDB and Cassandra databases. BIRT already supported Hadoop. Version 2.1 of the venerable open-source BIRT project was one the 10 projects participating in the original Calisto release train.

The Foundation is also spotlighting the inclusion of the latest version (v3.0) of the Orion platform in this release train. The open-source Orion project aims to develop a browser-based tool integration platform that is "entirely focused on developing for the Web, and in the Web." The tools in the platform are written in JavaScript and run in the browser. This release emphasizes usability features and easier deployment to Java applications servers, Milinkovich said.

Although most of the projects included in last year's Release Train are back this year, a few dropped out. The Virgo Web Server from EclipseRT, which was new last year, bowed out. Virgo is a module-based Java application server designed to run enterprise Java apps and Spring-powered apps. So did developers of the Jetty embedded web server and the Runtime Packaging Project (RTP). And the Xtend language project merged into the Xtext project. Xtext is a framework for the development of domain specific languages (DSLs).

In his Eclipse blog, Wayne Beaton, the Eclipse Foundation's director of open source projects, noted that although Jetty is not formally participating in the simultaneous release, "some of the Jetty project's bits are in the Kepler software repository: they have been pulled in as dependency for one or more projects that are participating in Kepler."

"Because those projects are entirely focused on runtimes, as opposed to tools, they were getting less benefits from participating in the release train than some of our other projects," Milinkovich added. "It's not that they weren't ready. People forget sometimes that the process by which projects participate in the release train is voluntary; they come and go depending on what they think is good for their project."

The Eclipse Foundation was formed in 2004, and in June 2005 the Eclipse Platform Project shipped. Starting in 2006, the organization launched the first official Release Train, also in June, dubbed Calisto. It included 10 projects.

"What we're trying to do here at Eclipse is not only to provide great tools for developers, but also to provide a platform that companies can build products on top of," he said. "Toward that latter end, the predictability we have established with the release train has been a big part of our success."

This year's code name departs from the Release Train's traditional naming scheme. "We were running out of moons of Jupiter," Milinkovich said. "And so we had a naming contest." The winner, "Kepler," is for Johannes Kepler, the German mathematician and astronomer credited with defining the laws of planetary motion.

More information about the Eclipse Kepler release, including the complete list of Release Train projects, is available here.

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