Eclipse Launches Data Tools Platform

The Eclipse Foundation has released the first version of its much anticipated Data Tools Platform (DTP), a collection of extensible frameworks and tools designed specifically for developing data-centric applications in the Eclipse environment.

"DTP 1.0 provides a rich set of frameworks that solve real-world issues related to the development of data-centric applications," Mike Milinkovich, the foundation's executive director, said in a statement.

Aimed at application developers who need to leverage existing data sources, the DTP comprises three major components: a connection-management and data-access framework, a set of model-driven development tools, and a set of SQL development tools.

Milinkovich credited the growth and momentum of the DTP to the efforts of committers from such Eclipse member companies as Sybase, Actuate, and IBM. Big Blue developed the original Eclipse codebase and released it as an open-source project. The Eclipse Foundation's own Eclipse Web Tools Platform project is adopting the DTP in its 2.0 release, code named "Europa." A "functional release" of the DTP was actually included as part of the Callisto multi-project roll out in 2006.

Sybase, the Dublin, Calif.-based provider of information management solutions, is already leveraging the DTP in its WorkSpace 1.2 Web-app development environment, said John Graham, a Sybase software engineer who chairs the Project Management Committee for the DTP. In his blog posting on the 1.0 release, Graham observed that, with this version, the project moves from incubation to mature status. "[It's] one move forward along the DTP path," he wrote. "We have a number of exciting ideas for DTP in 2007, not the least of which is participation in the Europa coordinated release. Also, there are a number of DTP presentations scheduled for EclipseCon, many of which will explore these directions."

The SQL editing/debugging framework and the connectivity layer in DTP in particular will provide Sybase's customers with greater support for heterogeneous server environments, the company says, and enhance the overall ease of use and productivity of WorkSpace's Data tooling.

Actuate, the South San Francisco-based maker of enterprise reporting applications, is utilizing the GTP for its "rich and extensible data-access capabilities," the company says. Actuate originated the industry’s first open source Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools Project (BIRT), which was approved as a top-level Eclipse project in 2004. In BIRT 2.1, the DTP's Open Data Access (ODA) and Connection Profile frameworks are providing heterogeneous data access services, the company says. Both the BIRT report designer and report engine are ODA hosts that consume any ODA designers and runtime drivers.

Data access and management tools are becoming priority concerns of many developers; 53 of those responding to a recent Evans Data survey characterized them as "extremely important." "Developers see data access and management tools as an integral part of their arsenal in data-centric application development," said John Andrews, CEO of Evans Data. "Eclipse will meet an important requirement of developers by providing data-centric tools and frameworks."

More information on the Eclipse DTP Project is available on the Eclipse data tools page.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].