IBMs Open-Source Platform Earns Praise From Developers

IBM's enhanced version of its open-source development platform is drawing positive reviews from developers who have beta tested it.

IBMs enhanced version of its open-source development platform is drawing positive reviews from developers who have beta tested it.

The Armonk, N.Y., company plans to release Version 2 of its Eclipse platform June 28. The platform will feature beefed-up Java tools, broader team support enabling broader repository coverage and support for more operating systems, including Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, Windows XP and SuSE Linux.

A port to Mac OS X will be released later, according to IBM officials.

MKS Inc. is creating a plug-in to integrate the companys Source Integrity source code control system into Eclipse 2.0, said Adam Terrenzio, a software engineer with the Waterloo, Ontario, company.

Terrenzio said he was most impressed with the new team development features, adding that Eclipse 2.0 is "a very simple interface to work with ... and very flexible."

Officials at Rational Software Corp., whose XDE and ClearCase products are plugged into Eclipse 1.0, expect to carry those products into the new platform. Vishy Ramaswamy, a staff software engineer with the Cupertino, Calif., company, particularly liked the error notification and warning capabilities of Version 2.0, as well as the team support features in the Java development environment. "Everything is integrated with the [configuration manager] underneath," he said.

"Eclipse 2.0 is interesting in three major areas: as a development tool integration platform, as a Java IDE [integrated development environment] and as an application framework," said Todd Williams, vice president of technology at Genuitec LLC, a Plano, Texas, Java software training, consulting and development company.

As a tool integration platform, Version 2.0 provides an open, seamless model that allows external tools to be integrated into the environment with ease, Williams said. "This capability has the potential to give developers what theyve always wanted: one tool with a single interface within which all development activities can be performed," he said.

Jason Williams, a software engineer with San Francisco-based TransVirtual Technologies Inc., said Eclipse 2.0 gives developers a flexible environment. "We first looked into Eclipse because it is an open-source Java IDE, and after a few weeks of research, we found that the modularity and XML/Java bindings worked very well with the structure of our [extensible operating environment] framework," Williams said. "So what that really boils down to is the ability to morph Eclipse into whatever you need."

Although Eclipse is an open-source effort, IBM is aiming to create a developer community around WebSphere, its J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) application server, similar to what Microsoft Corp. built through its Microsoft Developer Network. The Eclipse tool set also supports other J2EE systems as well.