Eclipse Release Train 'Indigo' Launches 62 Projects

The Eclipse Foundation announced its sixth annual release train today. This year's synchronized simultaneous launch of multiple Eclipse projects, code-named "Indigo," is the biggest yet, involving the work of 408 developers and 49 organizations contributing 46 million lines of code to 62 projects. Those projects range from updates of the core Eclipse SDK (3.7) and the Eclipse Runtime (RT) technologies to a brand new functional testing tool and new Object Teams/Java (OT/J) development tooling.

This year's release is a veritable bonanza for Java developers, largely because of three projects: the WindowBuilder Java GUI designer, which was recently contributed by Google as an Eclipse open source project; the eGit 1.0 release, which provides Java developers with support for the popular Git version control system; and the Mylyn 3.6 release, which supports Hudson build monitoring directly from the Eclipse workspace. (Mylyn is an open source framework for integrating task and ALM tools with the Eclipse IDE.)

"With WindowBuilder, Git support and Maven support, we've gone a long ways toward addressing some of the things that Java developers have wanted in Eclipse for a long time," said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. "This release train is arguably the best thing we've done for Java developers in years."

These types of projects continue to solidify Eclipse as the go-to platform for Java developers, said RedMonk analyst Michael Coté.

"The tooling landscape for development has been changing a lot recently," said Coté. "Suddenly developers care a lot about builds and version control in the form of Hudson/Jenkins and Git. In general, Eclipse has been good at tracking tools developers want. After all these years, if you're doing Java development, I'm not sure there's a better choice than going with Eclipse. The JetBrains folks still have a following, but Eclipse-as-IDE has maintained the stability and feature-set to keep up."

The Eclipse Foundation is also spotlighting a few other projects in this release train, including the new Jubula functional testing tool for Java and HTML. The Jubula code was contributed to Eclipse by German company Bredex.

The m2eclipse integration with Maven and the Eclipse workspace is another attention getter in this release. It allows developers to work with Maven projects directly from within the Eclipse IDE. Sonatype moved its m2eclipse code the Eclipse foundation for Indigo. And Milinkovich is particularly enthusiastic about the Eclipse Marketplace Client, which now supports drag and drop installation of Eclipse-based solutions directly into Eclipse.

"We think this project is going a long way toward helping users to make use of Eclipse as a platform," he said. "We're getting about 2,000 successful downloads and installs a day from the Eclipse Marketplace Client right now. It's been there for a year, but the users and developers of Eclipse have gotten the message that this is now the easiest way to discover and install your plugin, both commercial and open source."  

Also in this release train is the 2.0 version of the Xtext framework, which comes with new features for domain-specific languages (DSLs), including the ability to create DSLs with embedded Java-like expressions. This version adds the new Xtend template language and a new refactoring framework for DSLs.

Milinkovich also points to the list of projects under EclipseRT, which includes EclipseLink 2.3, a project that supports multi-tenant JPA Entities; Equinox 3.7, which now implements the OSGi 4.3 spec, including use of generic signatures and requirements for bundles; and the Eclipse Communication Framework (ECF), which implements OSGi 4.2 Remote Service and Remote Service Admin standards.

The module-based design principles defined by the OSGi (Open Services Gateway Initiative) have emerged as the defacto means of componentizing enterprise Java.

"The OSGi continues to be a very important part of the overall Java ecosystem," Milinkovich said. "And we're very happy that we're continuing to host the reference implementation as an Eclipse project."

For a complete list of the Indigo release train projects, go here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].