Microsoft: Silverlight, Eclipse Link Possible

Microsoft says that integration between its Silverlight tool and Eclipse is a possibility.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.-Will there be an Eclipse version of Silverlight?

Well, at the EclipseCon 2008 conference here, Sam Ramji, the director of platform technology strategy at Microsoft, said among the technologies he could see Microsoft working further with Eclipse on might be Silverlight.

Microsoft pledged to support two Eclipse projects during Ramji's keynote at the EclipseCon conference here on March 19. One project Microsoft has pledged to support is the Eclipse Standard Widget Toolkit and the other is the Eclipse Higgins identity management project.

However, asked which other projects Microsoft might be interested in supporting, Ramji said "there's a range, and some that haven't even started - like look what we're doing with Silverlight on Linux."

Ramji added that Novell is helping Microsoft port Silverlight to Linux, but added: "Looking at ways to bring Eclipse support to Silverlight would be an interesting project."

Microsoft Silverlight is a cross-browser, cross-platform, and cross-device plug-in for delivering next generation .Net-based media experiences and rich Internet applications for the Web.

Jochen Krause, CEO of Innoopract GmbH, and leader of the Rich AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and X M L) Project, discussed possible features in the next major overhaul of Eclipse, which the organization refers to as Eclipse 4.0, or e4 for short.

One of the goals for e4 is to make the Eclipse platform better as both a desktop and Web development environment. "Technologies like Silverlight, WPF [Windows Presentation Foundation] and Adobe AIR [Adobe Integrated Runtime] will influence the way people work with applications."

Meanwhile, Ramji said Microsoft has considered creating a C# integrated development environment that supports Eclipse, based on user interest. Indeed, at first there was very little interest in such a technology, but more recently there has been an uptake in interest, he said.

Another move would be to consider making Java a first-class citizen on Windows. Ramji said based on the feedback Microsoft gets from Eclipse developers and JBoss developers, "I think there's enough interest to take a look at that."

Ramji said the Microsoft Open Source Software Lab works on a budget of about $5 million annually, "but we work across the company and connect with a range of other product teams. So I look at the lab as being a change agency."

Moreover, Ramji said he expects the funding for the Microsoft open source lab to continue to increase. Ramji then addressed the audience, saying: "The lab resources will increase if you guys tell Microsoft that the work we're doing is valuable; if you think it's valuable let us know."