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Eclipse Ganymede Makes It Easier for Devs

Some open source efforts are satisfied with releasing one or two projects a year. That's not the case with the open source Eclipse Foundation, which today released 23 projects as part of its Ganymede release train.

The Eclipse projects that are part of Ganymede include new IDEs for Java and JavaScript, modeling, SOA and runtime projects as well as a new installer to help users put it all together.

The Eclipse Ganymede release is one of the most substantial developer tools release sets of the year, and the projects that it comprises fuel countless commercial projects.

"This is the third year in a row we've done the release train, and it's a bit bigger this year with 23 projects and 18 million lines of code," Ian Skerrett, director of marketing at Eclipse, told InternetNews.com.

The first Eclipse release train was the Callisto release in 2006, which had 10 projects. Next, the Europa release in 2007 had 21 projects.

According to Skerrett, Ganymede includes new modeling tools and tools for developers to create Java and C/C++ applications. Ganymede also features SOA tools.

Wrapping it all together is the new p2 install update mechanism, which, Skerrett said, will make Eclipse projects more user-friendly for developers

Skerrett noted that Eclipse has always had update capabilities, but prior to the p2 project, a lot of manual process was involved. If developers had component prerequisites to run a particular project, they would have to manually resolve them on their own.

"A lot of the usability issues of getting new stuff into Eclipse was due to that," Skerrett said. "With p2 resolving dependencies between plug-ins, installation is taken care of by p2," he said. "I think we'll see a big usability improvement in terms of updating and adding new features to Eclipse."

Among the new projects included in the Ganymede release is a new JavaScript IDE called JSDT.

"JSDT is primarily for AJAX RIA style development," Skerrett commented. "It's a natural extension of Eclipse, and the types of projects we have IDEs for are basically every language out there so having a good one for JavaScript only makes sense.

AJAX and Rich Internet Application (RIA) development at Eclipse are also reflected in the Rich Ajax Project (RAP), which is included in the Ganymede release.

RAP is an AJAX runtime and hit its 1.0 release in October 2007.

The Ganymede release train includes RAP 1.1, which adds the ability to customize the look and feel of CSS .

RAP is part of the Eclipse runtime effort (Eclipse RT) started earlier this year.

A goal of Eclipse RT is getting new runtime technology into Eclipse, something that is happening according to Skerrett.

One new project is the SeMantic Information Logistics Architecture (SMILA) effort. Just under way, SMILA is an effort to create a semantic Web runtime that will help developers with search and categorization functionality within applications.

SMILA is not yet a shipping product, though Skerrett was hopeful that it would be in next year's Eclipse release train.

With the Ganymede release now available, the Eclipse community is now looking toward next year's release. Skerrett noted that as was the case with Ganymede, Europa and Calisto, the next release will also be named after a moon orbiting the planet Jupiter.

At this point he wasn't sure what the name would be, but with more than 36 moons known in the Jovian system, Eclipse has a few choices.