SAP Joins Eclipse Consortium

SAP AG is the latest of 13 new members to have recently joined the IBM-sponsored organization.

IBM Corp. Monday announced that SAP AG has joined the board of stewards for the IBM-sponsored Eclipse Consortium, which oversees the Eclipse open-source application development framework.

Momentum in the industry for Eclipse continues to grow, with SAP joining the ranks of Hewlett-Packard Co., Oracle Corp., the Object Management Group, and Parasoft Corp., among others having recently joined the consortium. As one of the premier open-source application development platforms for Java, Eclipse is riding high in popularity, analysts and observers said.

SAP officials said the company joined Eclipse to supplement its application development environment. SAP, not being a tools environment, needed an open application development focus for developers, which Eclipse provides, analysts said. SAP maintains a stable of both Java-based, Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and Microsoft .Net-based applications.

Analysts said SAPs move is strategic for the company because it enhances the development options for the SAP applications ecosystem. The benefits to joining the Eclipse board include: "Standing on the shoulders of those who came before, a consistent developer experience; lowering the risk for the IT manager funding the tooling; and having a platform for tools innovation—all new ideas now have a launch pad, the Eclipse tool bench," said Ted Schadler, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc., of Cambridge, Mass.

John Meyer, an analyst with Giga Information Group Inc., Cambridge, Mass., said, "Although they [SAP] initially signed on with Borland [Software Corp.], I think they believe that they could be better served by a more open development tool framework like Eclipse. With the IDE [integrated development environment] market commoditizing, it makes sense not to be tied to a particular IDE. It will also allow SAPs customers to take advantage of higher levels of design abstraction like Rationals XDE environment should they wish to. Its definitely a good strategy for SAP, and it will add to Eclipses momentum."

SAP, based in Waldorf, Germany, is the latest of 13 new member companies and organizations that have recently joined the Eclipse Consortium.