Eclipse 3.0 to Get More Mature, Open Look

In a keynote at this year's EclipseCon, two lead developers praised the new Eclipse Foundation and offered a glimpse of the next version of Eclipse.

ANAHEIM, Calif.—Attendees of this years EclipseCon conference got a glimpse Tuesday of the latest Eclipse.

In a keynote speech at the conference here, two lead Eclipse platform developers praised the newly independent organization and offered glimpses of things to come in the next version of the platform, Version 3.0.

Erich Gamma, Java Development Tools (JDT) lead for Eclipse, and John Wiegand, the Eclipse platform lead, said the new Eclipse Foundation will foster some of the same values of the open-source movement: meritocracy, open participation and transparency. The duo also shared several peeks at Eclipse 3.0 in their keynote.

Noting that the Eclipse community is vast, very active and constantly looking for more functionality such as making JDT cooler, Gamma quipped, "People are getting spoiled."

Yet, he said, the goals of Eclipse 3.0 are to mature the platform, enhance the IDE, push down functionality among the layers and open up the platform so others can update their elements when the technology changes.

Eclipse 3.0 is scheduled for release in the second quarter of this year, around the June timeframe.

Among the key new pieces of functionality in Eclipse 3.0 will be Swing/SWT (Standard Widget Toolkit) interoperability, Wiegand said. The issue of interoperability between Swing and SWT is making news these days, as Sun Microsystems Inc., which supports Swing, is looking at joining or working with Eclipse in some way. SWT and Swing are dueling Java graphical user interface libraries. SWT is the IBM-backed library that is part of the Eclipse platform, and Swing is Suns technology and part of the Java 2 Standard Edition (J2SE) platform.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead "Is Eclipse in Suns Future?"

"Theres a lot of interest," Wiegand said. "People want to use Swing in an Eclipse context." Wiegand said this capability has been in Eclipse since the end of last year. "It is product quality on Windows and still in early access on Linux."

During a demonstration of the technology, Gamma said, "You can pull a Swing component and bring it over into Eclipse."

In addition, Eclipse 3.0 will feature user interface (UI) scalability enhancements and a more responsive UI, Gamma said.

Eclipse 3.0 will sport a rich client platform and establish a generic workbench that will enable the platform to be used with non-IDE applications, Wiegand said. It also will feature a new runtime.

"We replaced it," Wiegand said. "We had built a custom runtime in [Eclipse] 2.1. We have an OGSI [Open Grid Services Architecture]-based runtime out of the Equinox project. Its a standards-based component model, and you can add plug-ins dynamically."

Gamma said Eclipse 3.0 will support JDT as a platform and will feature refactoring.

Meanwhile, Wiegand said Eclipse 3.0 will feature API stability and compatibility. "Wed like 2.x users to be able to use their plug-ins in 3.0," he said. "As committers we take this very seriously."

Wiegand gave a brief history of Eclipse and said the platform will only grow stronger. "Were going to build a platform usable by everyone, and we want to make it fun and easy," he said. "The community uses, creates and publishes plug-ins, and we end up with this feedback loop for the developer community and the consumer community."