The Neon release includes 84 Eclipse projects consisting of more than 69 million lines of code, with contributions by 779 developers, 331 of whom are Eclipse committers. Last year’s release train, the Mars release, had 79 projects.
“It takes a great amount of coordination and effort by many developers within our community to ship a release that is on-time,” said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, in a statement.
The Neon release also features an updated PHP Development Tools Package (PDT). The new Eclipse PDT 4.0 release for PHP developers provides support for PHP 7 and improved performance.
Another key area of focus was improving the lot of Java developers on the Eclipse platform, Skerrett said. In the core Eclipse platform and the Java Development Tools project, the foundation added HiDPI support, which supports advanced monitors with graphics cards in them. That support is on Mac, Windows and Linux.
There are also updates to JDP, such as auto-save, automatically saving things as developers type into the IDE. And there are improvements to JDT’s Content Assist so that when developers are using it they can highlight search fields that they put in, as Content Assist now highlights matched characters and provides substring completion.
Other improvements and additions include updates to Automated Error Reporting . The Eclipse Automated Error Reporting client can now be integrated into any third-party Eclipse plug-in or stand-alone Rich Client Platform (RCP) application.
The Neon release also features improved support for Docker Tooling and introduces the Eclipse User Storage Service (USS). The Eclipse USS is a new storage service that enables projects to store and retrieve user data and preferences from Eclipse servers creating a better user experience (UX) for developers.
“Neon noticeably returns focus to essential coding improvements, like editor auto-save, HiDPI support, better dark theme and more intelligent Java Content Assist,” said Todd Williams, vice president of Technology at Genuitec, a founding member of the Eclipse Foundation that offers tools supporting the Eclipse platform such as MyEclipse and Webclipse. “These changes, along with Neon’s increased responsiveness, will help ensure that Eclipse remains competitive in its core market segments.”
Eclipse Foundation Ships Neon Release Train
Meanwhile, the Neon release added several projects that are brand new to the annual release train, including Buildship, which includes Eclipse plug-ins for the Gradle build tool, as well as the Paho Internet of Things (IoT) project and the Andmore project, which provides Android tooling for Eclipse. Other new projects include EGerrit, which is an Eclipse plug-in that provides an integration of the Gerrit review tool in Eclipse as well as Eclipse Tools for Cloud Foundry and EMF Parsley. EMF Parsley is a lightweight framework that allows easy and quick UI development based upon EMF, the Eclipse Modeling Framework.
Andersen also singled out improvements to the Eclipse Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT) to make Eclipse run more smoothly on more recent platforms, especially on newer Linux distributions. Moreover, Andersen credited the Friends of Eclipse program (FEP) with helping to improve the platform. FEP uses monetary contributions to fund contracting of developers to fix critical issues that no one else has the time or energy to fix, he said. “For example, we finally have auto-save of editors in Eclipse, and issues around dark theming have been fixed based on the FEP program,” Andersen noted.
In addition, Andersen said this release saw an uptake in contributions from the community and Eclipse committers accepted more patches than ever before. “This shows in the breadth of issues fixed across the platform,” he added.
Eclipse’s Skerrett said each release train is a collective accomplishment where the community has planned, developed and delivered a scheduled, coordinated release that enables users and adopters to update their Eclipse technology in one instance.
“We created the release train process for our adopters—for companies that use Eclipse to build commercial products,” Skerrett said.
Prior to the launch of the initial Eclipse release train a decade ago—known as Callisto—Skerrett said Eclipse adopters told the foundation they were using multiple projects from Eclipse in their commercial products, and to simplify the incorporation of new Eclipse releases into their products, they needed the Eclipse projects to be coordinated.
“So one of the key reasons we do these release trains is to make it easy for our adopters and end users to use a number of these projects and get the updates at the same time,” Skerrett said.
To promote the Neon release, the Eclipse Foundation has produced a seven-day Neon Webinar series to encourage discussion on the new features and projects within the release.
Oxygen, which is what the twelfth Eclipse release train will be named, is scheduled for release in June 2017.