EclipseCon Mars Released

The Eclipse Foundation hit its annual release train deadline of June 24 for the 10th year in a row, with a record synchronized launch of 79 open source projects. The projects in this year's "Mars" release range from the expected Eclipse IDE upgrades and improved Maven and Gradle support, to a new Client API (Jubula) that allows developers to create test cases in Java and store them in Git, and new tools (Oomph) based on extensible frameworks that make it easier to install an Eclipse IDE and to provision a project-specific Eclipse workspace.

"Ten years of shipping coordinated release trains, which were all on time to the day, is a great accomplishment by the Eclipse community," said the foundation's executive director, Mike Milinkovich, in a statement. "This predictable release schedule has been a huge benefit to our community and ecosystem, and has encouraged widespread adoption of Eclipse technology."

The number of projects included in the release train has grown each year. Last year's Luna release comprised 76 projects. The Mars release was also the largest in terms of sheer code contributions, with 380 Eclipse committers contributing 65 million lines of code.

Among the standouts in this year's Eclipse IDE update is a new feature called Quick Fixes for Java 8, which provides a hierarchical presented for nested projects in the Project Explorer, as well as the ability to customize perspectives and speed movements for text search. This release also comes with an early access version of the Java 9 support planned for the IDE, which provides developers with ability to add JRE and JDK 9 as installed JRE, support for Java SE-1.9 execution environment, and the ability to create Java and plug-in projects that use a JRE or JDK 9.

Also, a new automated error-reporting feature has been added to all Eclipse projects, the foundation says. The new feature prompts users automatically when an error occurs in Eclipse, and sends an error report to the appropriate Eclipse project team.

The list of projects/upgrades highlighted by the foundation includes:

  • New Docker plugins for the Linux Tools Project, which allow users to manage Docker images and containers from within the IDE.
  • The new Buildship Project, which provides a collection of Eclipse plug-ins for setting up, configuring, and initiating Gradle builds.
  • Support for Maven 3.3.3, including archetypes integration, enhanced auto-completion in the pom editor, and experimental support for automatic configuration updates.
  • Sirius 3.0, which is developing specifications for a modeling workbench that can be deployed as a standard Eclipse plug-in.

Unique to this year's release train was the foundation's "Great Fixes for Mars" competition, launched a few months before the June release. The contest offered prizes to community members who contributed fixes that improved the functionality and performance of Eclipse.

"Open source communities always want to encourage more contributions," Ian Skerrett, the foundation's vice president of marketing, told ADTmag in an earlier interview. "That's the lifeblood of a project. With this competition, we're just trying something a bit different, and timing it with the Mars release. It's where something like this might have the greatest impact, because, among other things, the committers are probably the most open to getting things fixed."

A complete list of projects participating in this year's release train is available on the Eclipse Mars page.

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].