Eclipse Foundation's Indigo Release Empowers Java Developers

The Eclipse Foundation is shipping its annual release train for 2011, known as Indigo, with a key focus on giving Java developers more capability to build apps for the cloud and other environments.

The Eclipse Foundation's Indigo release train marks the eighth year in a row that Eclipse has shipped a coordinated release of projects, with this year's focus on the Java developer.

Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, said 62 project teams participated in Indigo. The Indigo release, which shipped June 22, had 46 million lines of code released on the same day (calculated by Ohloh), 408 developers (committers) contributed code and 49 organizations collaborated on the release, Eclipse officials said. Ten predefined packages enable easy download and use, they explained.

Developers can download the 2011 Indigo release train at

"From a developer's perspective, a key theme is that first and foremost this is a key release for Java developers," Milinkovich told eWEEK. Indeed, highlights of the Indigo release include new functionality for Java developers, and innovations in modeling technology and advancements in Eclipse runtime technology. "Features such as Git support, Maven and Hudson integration, a great GUI builder in WindowBuilder, and our new Jubula testing tool will, I am sure, motivate developers to try Indigo," he said.

For instance, Milinkovich cites Google's WindowBuilder, an Eclipse-based GUI builder, which is now available as an Eclipse open-source project, as a boon for Java developers. "Plus, they set a land speed record for getting from project to part of the release train."

Other key new features for Java developers cited by Milinkovich include the following.

  • The EGit 1.0 release provides support for Java developers using Git for source-code management.
  • Automated functional GUI testing for Java and HTML applications is included via Jubula.
  • The m2eclipse brings tight integration with Maven and the Eclipse workspace, enabling developers to work with Maven projects directly from Eclipse.
  • Mylyn 3.6 supports Hudson build monitoring directly from the Eclipse workspace.
  • The Eclipse Marketplace Client now supports drag-and-drop installation of Eclipse-based solutions directly into Eclipse, making it significantly easier to install new solutions.

Todd Williams, vice president of technology at Genuitec said, "Genuitec is excited about the inclusion of Google's WindowBuilder in the release train. Google's commitment to Eclipse continues to grow, and now it provides developers free and open access to one of the most popular GUI builders available."

Williams also told eWEEK: ""Genuitec, as a founding member of the Eclipse Foundation, is always excited about the annual release train. This is the sixth year in a row that the Eclipse community has shipped a coordinated release of multiple projects, and with 62 separate projects coming together in Indigo, it's is no small development task. We're proud to support access to the new release with our free Pulse product on day zero."

Mik Kersten, CEO of Tasktop Technologies and creator of the Mylyn project, told eWEEK, "While cloud-based IDE efforts have been grabbing headlines, Eclipse has entrenched itself as the de facto IDE for the Java ecosystem and beyond. Eclipse extensions are instrumental to developers working on a broad range of frameworks, ranging from the tried-and-true Spring to the more recent crop of Web frameworks such as Google Web Toolkit, and now to PaaS [platform as a service] and cloud destinations such as [VMware's] CloudFoundry and AWS [Amazon Web Services}."

Moreover, "The Indigo release provides the glue that brings together these Eclipse-based development tools with ALM (application lifecycle management) and social coding support via the Mylyn project and its extensions, which range from the lean Git to the full-featured HP ALM, spanning the breadth of open source, Agile and enterprise ALM. The result is that the Indigo launch signifies the most broadly integrated and connected IDE to date, making the development day of both the professional and the hobbyist more productive and more fun."

The Eclipse modeling include the following innovations:Xtext 2.0 has added significant features for DSLs (domain-specific languages) that provide the ability to create DSLs with embedded Java-like expressions; Xtend, a new template language that allows tightly integrated code-generation into the Eclipse tooling environment; and a new refactoring framework for DSLs. Other modeling enhancements include Acceleo 3.1, which integrates code-generation into Ant and Maven build chains, and includes improved generator-editing facilities; CDO Model Repository 4.0, which integrates with several NoSQL databases such as Objectivity/DB, MongoDB and DB4O; and cache optimizations and many other enhancements allow for models of several gigabytes.

EMF 2.7 makes it easy to replicate changes across distributed systems in an optimal way: A client can send back to the server a minimal description of what's been changed rather than sending back the whole, arbitrarily large, new instance. Additionally, Eclipse Extended Editing Framework 1.0 generates advanced and good-looking EMF editors in one click. EMF Compare 1.2 brings dedicated Unified Modeling Language support and is more fully integrated with the software-configuration management solution. Moreover, EMF Facet, a new project, allows extension of an existing Ecore metamodel without modification.

The Eclipse Runtime enhancements include the following: EclipseLink 2.3 supports multi-tenant JPA Entities, making it possible to incorporate JPA persistency into SaaS-style (software as a service-style) applications; Equinox 3.7 now implements the OSGi 4.3 specification, including use of generic signatures, generic capabilities, and requirements for bundles; the Eclipse Communication Framework implements OSGi 4.2 Remote Service and Remote Service Admin standards; and Riena 3.0 now supports the creation of Web browser applications using the Eclipse Rich Ajax Platform.