Eclipse Launches Kepler Release Train With Big Data, BI, Usability Support

The Eclipse Foundation has delivered Kepler, its latest annual release train of projects – this one with support for big data, enhanced BI and usability among other things.

While Microsoft was lavishly announcing the release of a preview of the latest version of Visual Studio, its .NET-based integrated development environment (IDE), at its Build 2013 developer conference, true to form the Eclipse Foundation quietly announced the availability of the latest release of its annual release train, this one known as Kepler.

Kepler, also known as Eclipse 4.3, features 71 open-source project teams involving 420 developers from 54 organizations and more than 58 million lines of code. The coordinated release demonstrates that open-source development processes are very effective for large-scale distributed development, Eclipse Foundation officials said. Each year, the Eclipse community of open-source projects coordinates a major release at the end of June.

The coordinated release also allows users and adopters of Eclipse technology to update to new versions of Eclipse projects all at one time. Kepler is the eighth such release since the foundation began naming its annual release trains in 2006 with the Callisto release.

"The Eclipse Kepler release completes the migration of Eclipse to our new 4.x platform," Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, told eWEEK in an interview. "A lot of work has gone into improving the performance, stability and backward compatibility of the 4.3 release. I expect that developers will be pretty happy with the general 'snappiness' of Kepler."

Eclipse started life as a project out of IBM Canada focused on Java development. Although it is still mostly popular as a Java programming environment, Eclipse is a multilanguage IDE comprising a base workspace and an extensible plug-in system for customizing the environment. While it is written mostly in Java, it can be used to not only develop applications in Java, but also, by means of various plug-ins, other programming languages, including Ada, C, C++, COBOL, Fortran, Haskell, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, R, Ruby, the Ruby on Rails framework, Scala, Clojure, Groovy, Scheme and Erlang.

"Kepler has several new features that Java developers are going to enjoy," Milinkovich said. "First, there is support for Java EE 7, which is the quickest we've ever been able to support a new Java EE platform release. Second, Web Tools now has Maven support for building EAR [Enterprise Archive], EJB [Enterprise JavaBeans], WAR [Web application Archive] files and the like."

The Eclipse Platform uses plug-ins to provide all functionality within and on top of the runtime system, in contrast to some other applications, in which functionality is hard-coded. The Eclipse Platform's runtime system is based on Equinox, an implementation of the OSGi core framework specification.

The Eclipse Web Tools Project (WTP) 3.5 release adds support for the recently released Java EE 7, including support for Java Persistence API (JPA) 2.1, JavaServer Faces (JSF) 2.2, JAX-RS 2.0, Servlet 3.1, EJB 3.2, Connector 1.7, App Client 7.0 and EAR 7.0. Also, the Eclipse Web Tools Project (WTP) project and code generation wizards, content assist and validation have been updated, so Java developers can easily create, debug and deploy Java EE 7-compliant applications.

"The Eclipse release trains are very important to the success and growth of the entire Eclipse ecosystem," Milinkovich said in a statement. "Users and adopters of Eclipse technology know they can rely upon a predictable annual release schedule, so organizations are confident about using Eclipse technology as their software development platform. Eclipse is a great example of how open-source software has changed the software industry for the better."