"Eclipse has been around for a number of years and is known for its tools for enterprise Java developers, but we've been less successful appealing to Web developers." Mike Milinkovich, executive director of Eclipse, told eWEEK. "But as more applications move to the cloud, we need to make sure there's tooling that appeals to that audience. With Orion, we're leveraging the browser as the way to navigate your code base."
More and more applications are being moved to the Web and cloud infrastructure. A key question is how software development tools will move from the desktop to support a Web-focused development workflow. Orion moves software development to the Web, as a Web experience. It implements the workflows required by Web developers building open Web applications -- workflows that are dramatically different from those implemented by existing desktop-based integrated development environments (IDEs). Orion enables the creation and integration of browser-based tools for open Web development that are both powerful and flexible.
Orion is an open-source project at the Eclipse Foundation. An important goal of this open beta is to reach out to the Web developer community to solicit feedback and input into the future directions of Orion. The first Orion Planning Summit was held March 17-18 in Palo Alto, Calif., to establish the scope and roadmap of the Orion project.
Some key features of Orion include:
- Initial integration with git provides local history for Orion projects. A new git comparison tools allows for easy identification of changes. Future support for git commands (fetch, tag, logo) will be added.
"It is still very early days but I expect Orion will be as important for Web developers as the initial Eclipse Java IDE was for Java developers," Milinkovich said. "Right now we are looking for people who are interested in using or adopting Orion and who are interested in participating in the community."
The Orion hosted service is open to the first 5,000 developers who sign up. In the future, additional slots may be added as the Orion community grows. The Orion server is also available for download for developers who want to install Orion on their own computers. The Orion source code is licensed under the Eclipse Public License (EPL).
Meanwhile, although there are competing efforts to deliver a cloud-oriented IDE - such as the Cloud9 IDE and eXo's Cloud IDE - the Eclipse approach with Orion is different, Milinkovich said. One way it differs is that the other efforts attempt "to be a desktop IDE running in a browser tab, but Orion is trying to make it feel like the natural way you use the Web every day," Milinkovich said. He also noted that Orion is very focused on integration and has the Eclipse community behind it.
"We hope we can see the same replication of the success of Eclipse with the Orion platform," Milinkovich said