RealTime IT News

Eclipse Revises Tools Platform for Developers

Open source developer group Eclipse this week said it has enhanced its Java-based software tools integration platform.

The group, spearheaded by IBM, said R2.1 features improved usability and performance. It also includes workbench navigation enhancements, user-configurable key bindings and new Ant support. The Java development tools also boast editor and debugger improvements and re-factorings.

In another first, R2.1 also now supports Apple's Macintosh operating system, MacOS, along with the AIX, HP/UX, QNX, Linux, Windows and Solaris platforms. With Microsoft's highly-anticipated new operating system and development platform slated to go live later this month, Eclipse wants to expand its sphere of influence by improving its platform to woo developers away from the Microsoft Visual Studio environment.

"While our sights are set on future versions of the Eclipse Platform, we wanted to provide useful enhancements to the R2 code base," said John Wiegand, Eclipse Project Lead. "We want to retain platform stability and upward compatibility for the large community that is now releasing plug-ins based on Eclipse R2."

Desire for R2.1 is high, it seems. Eclipse said its servers logged more than 7 million download requests for the revised platform within two days of its recent release.

IBM's foray into the tools market goes back almost two years. Microsoft dominates the market for developer tools, while Java supporters like IBM battle for slices of the remainder under the aegis of Eclipse. In late 2001, IBM released 3 million lines of VisualAge code to Eclipse.org and has been on a tear ever since as the move led to 3 million downloads, 200 contributing vendors, including board members Oracle, HP and Sybase and 15 products shipping on the Eclipse code base.

Eclipse also recently welcomed five new supporting members to the consortium: Ericsson, Fraunhofer/FOKUS, LogicLibrary, QA Systems and SilverMark. This expands the consortium to 34 supporting members.

About 260 projects built under the auspices of Eclipse have been detailed on developer community sites. For a summary of R2.1 updates, please go here.