SAN FRANCISCO—Although BEA Systems Inc. will not formally join the Eclipse Foundation, the company is moving closer to supporting the organization and its goals.
At the JavaOne conference here this week, BEA, of San Jose, Calif., will announce a new Eclipse Foundation project called Pollinate that will feature Eclipse support for BEAs Beehive technology, which is the open-source version of BEAs WebLogic Workshop Java IDE (integrated development environment) framework.
Dave Cotter, director of product management at BEA, said this agreement does not mean BEA will be joining the Eclipse Foundation, however. He said Instantiations Inc., of Portland, Ore., will head up the Pollinate project.
Pollinate is an open-source incubator project to create an Eclipse-based development environment and tool set that will integrate with Beehive, which BEA submitted to the Apache Foundation. Beehive is an open-source framework for building SOA (service-oriented architecture) and enterprise Java applications. Eclipse provides the development environment and Beehive provides the underlying application framework and run-time.
Mike Taylor, president of Instantiations, an Eclipse member company, said Instantiations is interested in working with Beehive from two standpoints. "For our company this gives us the ability to add significantly to the expertise we already have in the development tools arena," he said.
"The Pollinate project allows us to create a new level of Java tool that makes J2EE [Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition] and SOA much more accessible to a significantly broader range of developers, and we plan to lever this in one of our commercial product lines, such as WindowBuilder Pro. Second, on a broader industry level we all gain from the continued expansion of the Eclipse platform. BEAs move to support a project at eclipse.org is an important step in the overall unification of Java. Pollinate really adds to Eclipses momentum," said Taylor.
Cotter added, "Beehive allows people to use any IDE they feel fit to use and this is one of the more significant IDE players.
"The ability to use controls is one of the biggest benefits of this announcement," he said. "This means Java developers can have the same benefits as in the Microsoft world with controls. Controls are coming to an Eclipse developer near you."
When the Pollinate project is complete, Eclipse developers will be able to plug Pollinate components into Eclipse and bypass a lot of the complexity of Java development. A beta version of the Eclipse Pollinate software will be available later this year, foundation officials said. A beta version of Beehive will be available this fall, Cotter said.
Other companies that have signed on to support Pollinate include Genuitec LLC and Soaring Eagle Inc.
"Were a longtime Eclipse company and what we said was anything that BEA does that broadens out its availability to the Eclipse platform is a good thing," Taylor said in an interview with eWEEK earlier this month. "We said wed be happy to support their opening up and embracing the Eclipse platform. Were interested in opening up the Workshop framework to allow people to use any IDE."
Instantiations announced its new WindowBuilder Suite of rich client development tools for Java last month. The new suite supports both the Sun Microsystems Inc. Swing GUI tools as well as the Eclipse-based SWT (Standard Widget Toolkit) in a single solution. WindowBuilder installs into Eclipse-based IDEs such as IBM Corp.s WebSphere Studio. It eliminates the need for tedious and complex hand coding of GUI components, Taylor said.
"With all the rich client work going on, what were anticipating is that Java will re-emerge on the desktop as a reasonable client-side technology," Taylor said. "We believe the majority of GUIs will continue to be lightweight but one-third of the market wants to build more sophisticated systems."