Eclipse Makes Moves to Pass Microsofts Visual Studio

Eclipse continues to grow, adding new projects and members, in an attempt to "eclipse" Microsoft's environment.

As the battle for supremacy in the integrated development environment space more and more becomes a fight between just two camps, Microsoft Corp. better watch out, said one of the leaders from the competing camp.

Eclipse is poised to overcome the Microsoft Visual Studio development environment as the premier environment for application development, claims Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, which oversees development of the Eclipse open-source development platform.

"Long term, Microsoft is looking at the developer space to lead the way" for the companys overall strategy for winning and retaining customers, he said.

"If we execute, we will, excuse the pun, Eclipse the Microsoft environment," Milinkovich said in an interview last week at the EclipseWorld conference in New York. "Microsoft is worried about the passion of what open-source software means to developers."

/zimages/6/28571.gifPlans are afoot to expand Eclipse in a number of ways. Click here to read what they are.

Eclipse continues to grow, with new projects being started and new members cropping up to support the platform. Continued growth in support for the platform could set the stage for the scenario Milinkovich described, observers said. And projects like the Eclipse Application Lifecycle Framework set up Eclipse to compete with the Microsoft Visual Studio Team System, which addresses the application development lifecycle in the Microsoft environment.

Meanwhile, the Eclipse Foundation is slated to announce at least two new strategic members later this month, Milinkovich said.

At the EclipseWorld conference Milinkovich said the Eclipse Foundation plans to announce two new members in September, with more to follow in later months.

According to sources, one of the new member companies is expected to be Iona Technologies Inc., of Waltham, Mass.

Meanwhile, Compuware Corp. acknowledged that the company has been in talks with Eclipse about a strategic membership, but that it has nothing to announce this month. A spokesman said any discussion about announcing an expanded role in the Eclipse organization would be "premature."

Compuware already is an Eclipse member at the add-in provider level, but would be assuming a lot more responsibility and influence in the organization should the company opt to become a strategic member.

Compuware as a strategic member would represent a coup for Eclipse, as Compuware has based its Java tools product line on Sun Microsystems Inc.s competing NetBeans open-source tool set. Detroit-based Compuware has even been a contributor to the NetBeans framework, and now is placing emphasis on Eclipse.

In a Sun announcement of December 2003, Mike Burba, product manager for Compuware OptimalJ, said: "Compuware is excited to see the direction that the NetBeans platform is taking. As a NetBeans framework contributor, Compuware has been very satisfied with NetBeans improvements over the last couple releases. More importantly, NetBeans has staked out a solid path into the future. These enhancements are critical to the success of products that build on the NetBeans platform—such as Compuware OptimalJ, the market-leading model-driven J2EE development tool."

However, a Compuware spokesman said despite the companys adoption of Eclipse, Compuware will continue to support NetBeans.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read why Peter Coffee says Eclipse and NetBeans arent always at odds.

Compuware became an add-in provider for Eclipse in October of last year. Then at JavaOne in June, Compuware announced Compuware OptimalJ 4.0, which features process-modeling functionality and support for the Eclipse open-source development platform. Compuware also had added Eclipse integration to OptimalJ 3.2 Developer Editions existing library of integrated development environment (IDE) plug-ins, which includes Borland JBuilder and IBM WebSphere Studio Application Developer.

Meanwhile, when Compuware became an add-in provider for Eclipse last year, Bob Barker, vice president of strategic planning at Compuware, said: "As Eclipse continues to gain momentum, Compuware remains committed to driving business value from the developer desktop. We provide unique value to Eclipse developers through our model-driven, pattern-based approach that transforms models directly into working applications. Additionally, Compuwares code diagnostics and performance-tuning products help developers become more efficient and productive."

Next Page: The cost of membership.