Eclipse 'Juno' Release Train Biggest to Date

The Eclipse Foundation today announced its seventh annual synchronized launch of multiple Eclipse projects, better known as the Release Train. This year's release, code-named "Juno," includes 10 new projects as well as the latest upgrade of the default Eclipse application platform. Eclipse 4.2 is now the "mainstream platform" for the Eclipse community, and most of the Release Train projects are shipping on it. The existing Eclipse 3.x code stream is being put into "maintenance mode."

"A huge part of the work that went into Eclipse 4 was the backward compatibility layer," Eclipse Foundation executive director Mike Milinkovich told ADTMag, "which allows existing Eclipse plugins and RCP applications to work on the new platform. We never wanted to be one of those open source communities where ever major release breaks everybody. Virtually all of the projects in this Release Train are making use of that compatibility layer, and I think that shows just how robust it is. We're definitely hoping that the broader Eclipse ecosystem will be able to move over to Eclipse 4.2 quite quickly."

This year's Release Train is the largest to date. It includes 72 projects (up from 62 last year) developed by more than 400 project committers from 49 organizations. Taken as a whole, this release comprises 55 million lines of code. The first Release Train, launched in 2006, included only 10 projects.

Among the 10 new projects in this release is a project called Code Recommenders, which is getting something of a spotlight from the Foundation. Code Recommenders is an analysis tool that "makes Eclipse code completion a lot smarter," by recommending proper API usage, the Foundation says. The tool evaluates how applications make use of specific Java APIs, and then uses those evaluations to build a database of best practices, which allows it to offer developers "smarter hints" for building apps using those APIs. Ian Skerrett, director of marketing for the Eclipse Foundation, equates the process with offering shopping suggestions.

Another new project, the Eclipse Virgo Web Server, is a module-based Java application server designed to run enterprise Java apps and Spring-powered apps "with a high degree of flexibility and reliability." The new Koneki project provides an IDE for the Lua embeddable scripting language, which is "popular in the gaming industry and gaining importance in the M2M industry."

In this release, the Xtext project, which is provides a framework for the development of programming languages and domain specific languages (DSLs), adds support for integrated debugging of JVM-based DSLs created using Xtext, and tighter integration with the Java Development Tools (JDT).

This Release Train also introduces two new Eclipse packages: the Eclipse IDE for Automotive Software Developer, which combines tools and a framework for embedded automotive software development; and Eclipse for Mobile Developers, which aims to make it easier for developers to download and use Eclipse with a variety of mobile SDKs, including the Android SDK.

One of the "side effects" of the annual Eclipse multiple-project release, Milinkovich added, is that community members now aspire to board the train. "It makes sense, because this is the easiest way to get your technology out to millions of developers," he says. "It doesn't line up with every single project at Eclipse, but it's certainly engrained in the culture now."

Additional information about the Juno Release Train, including a list of the new inclusions,  is available on the Eclipse Juno Web site.

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].