By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2006-06-26 Print this article Print

However, some cynical observers note that although the Eclipse Foundation is launching 10 projects at once with Callisto, from that point on the projects are off on their own again. Thats not entirely right, Eclipse officials said. Milinkovich said Eclipse plans to do annual simultaneous releases, but that individual projects may come out with more than one release in the interim.
Click here to read more about Eclipses plans for annual synchronized releases.
In a blog post, Freeman-Benson said this is why the foundation decided to name the simultaneous release "Callisto" rather than Eclipse 3.2. "Different projects have different release cycles," Freeman-Benson said. "Some projects release once a year. Some release twice a year. Some release more than that. By forcing the projects into a standard numbering, we would be limiting these faster releasing projects to the slowest projects schedule." But what happens if a company wants to use a feature from an interim release between Callisto and next years annual release, for which Freeman-Benson has proposed the name "Europa"? John Kellerman, manager of IBMs Eclipse strategy, in Raleigh, N.C., said that before Callisto, IBM had to internally do much the same process Callisto was designed to because "there are literally hundreds of IBM products based on Eclipse." However, Kellerman said IBM has been willing to use interim releases and hints at the power IBM was able to wield in the Eclipse organization. "Some of the projects had a greater number of IBM committers and we could cause them to align," he said. "Others we might just take a snapshot [of the pre-release technology] and consider ourselves done, knowing there was some risk involved." Doug Schaefer, project lead of the C/C++ Development Tools project, said that project will benefit from the Callisto release train because in the past the project upgrades were not based on any regular schedule. Guru Jakob Nielsen offers advice on designing applications for usability. Click here to watch the video. Tim Wagner, project lead of the Eclipse Web Tools Platform project, said Callisto is helpful to his company, Seattle-based BEA Systems, "because we dont have to worry about five different dates and releases" for the Eclipse projects. Wagner said the next versions of BEAs WebLogic Studio and WebLogic Workshop will be based on Callisto. Graham said that before Callisto, judging Eclipse releases was a "real guessing game, and that made it hard to plan products." Meanwhile, Wagner said the Callisto experience also led to some unintentional side effects, including improving Eclipse infrastructure such as the organizations update technology, and driving toward more user interface consistency among the projects. Other "side effects" include what Graham referred to as "touch points" or areas where the various projects could better work together or integrate. Richard Gronbeck, project lead for the Eclipse Graphical Modeling Framework project and an engineer at Borland Software, in Cupertino, Calif., called Callisto a "great unifier" for the organization. He said the goals for the move to Callisto and beyond are to "first align the dates [of releases], second to improve interoperability, and third to get tighter integration" among the projects. "Releasing 10 projects that are all at different stages in their development sounds a bit risky, but for Catalyst, it reduces the amount of testing we need to perform," said Tracy Ragan, chief executive of Chicago-based Catalyst Systems, an Eclipse member company. "In the past, we would need to download new versions of Eclipse each time a project was released. It got to where there was always something new we needed to test, review or just understand. With Callisto, it is a one time effort for all 10 of the projects." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel