Eclipse 'Indigo' Maintenance Release Adds Java 7 Support to JDT

The Eclipse Foundation's release last week of Eclipse "Indigo" 3.7.1 was more than the usual maintenance release. Along with the expected bug fixes, this service release adds Java 7 support in the Eclipse Java Development Tools (JDT) project. No other new features were introduced in this release.

The Foundation was unable to support Java 7 when Eclipse 3.7 was released in June as part of the annual Eclipse Release Train because the specification had not been finalized. So-called out-of-the-box support was deferred to next year's Eclipse 3.8 release, though the Foundation did include Java 7 support in the first milestone release of Eclipse 3.8, out now.

Adding support in the Eclipse JDT was meant to satisfy demand for Java 7 development, which other tools, such as NetBeans, and IntelliJ IDEA, have been providing (with the stipulation that, as pre-release software, it was subject to changes). Oracle encouraged developers interested in getting started immediately with the Java SE 7 release to leverage NetBeans and InteliJ, and promised to provide support for Java 7 in its own JDeveloper IDE later this year.

The Eclipse JDT comprises a set of plug-ins designed to add the capabilities of a full-featured Java IDE to the Eclipse platform. The plugins come with APIs, so they can, themselves, be extended by other tool builders.

"By its nature, this maintenance release contains fixes to a small number of serious problems found in the June 2011 Indigo 3.7 release," the Foundation said on its Web site. "We make and verify each fix carefully, so that we do not need to tie up the entire development team in time-consuming test passes."

Indigo 3.7.1 is meant to work exactly like the initial Indigo 3.7 release. All of the problems that were fixed in this release are listed in the Eclipse bugzilla database and flagged with Target Milestone "3.7.1."

Java 7 was released in July with, among other new features, multicore support with Fork/Join, support for dynamic languages, and a new file-system API. It was not considered a major release. Oracle chief Java architect Mark Reinhold said at the time that it was "more evolutionary than revolutionary."

The Indigo release train, launched June, was the largest coordinated Eclipse project release to date: 62 projects, 46 million lines of code, and the work of 408 developers and 49 organizations.

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].