Eclipsecon 2008

Eclipsecon 2008

Posted on April 18, 2008 0 Comments

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending Eclipsecon 2008, Eclipse conference, in Santa Clara, CA. The conference was well attended with 1404 attendees representing 37 countries.  There were 10 parallel tracks and with a wide range of sessions from “Getting started” to “How to make money with Open Source”. In the past couple of years, the Eclipse ecosystem has grown rapidly with 11 top level projects that cover many of the areas of SDLC tooling. With the recent announcement of the Runtime (RT) project, they now have a significant traction on Rich UI client (using RCP technology), Rich Web UI (using RAP technology) and the application server areas with OSGi and “Server Side OSGi” projects. 

The conference in general had a lot of buzz about web as a platform for Eclipse and AJAX tooling. I have attended Eclipsecon for the past three years and the previous conferences have been very technical with lot of sessions on “how to” in Eclipse where they would get into code within the first 10 min of the session. But I noticed a slight change in focus this year – there were a lot of success stories, reference implementations, adoption related sessions and many business focused sessions like “How to make money from open source”. In my opinion this change somewhat reflects the maturity process for the Eclipse ecosystem.

You can browse thru’ the conference materials at Happy reading!

So in summary, Eclipse has gained significant momentum and looking at the future direction of where Eclipse tooling is headed further strengthens OpenEdge Architect strategy of providing an open and productive tooling platform for OpenEdge customer base. The continued growth of Eclipse ecosystem will continue to enable OpenEdge customers to take advantage of the Eclipse platform and ecosystem.

One of the goals for OpenEdge Architect is to make OpenEdge n-tier business application development iterative and more productive. Looking at the different Eclipse projects, there seem to be definite synergies between Eclipse projects like Web Tools Project (WTP) for providing AppServer and Webspeed tooling support, Mylyn and the need for task based development environment, Dynamic language toolkit (DLTK) makes it relatively easy to add more editors feature quickly, Data tools project (DTP) for database schema navigation etc…. So we are looking to further prototype and explore of some of these Eclipse projects to meet OpenEdge customer needs.

Following is a brief summary of some of the sessions that I thought were interesting - more details about this can be found in the conference material on the link above.

1. Eclipse 4.0 (e4) – There was a lot of discussion about the next generation of Eclipse tools – Eclipse 4.0 (e4). E4 is expected to ship in June 2010 with a prototype ready by June 2009. Web as another platform for Eclipse and SWT was one of the main themes for Eclipse 4.0 platform team. The platform team had a few cool prototypes and demo on possibilities. Eclipse committee seems to be still undecided on the definite direction on how Eclipse will be available on Web. Some of the AJAX solutions that were being considered included RAP, GWT, DOJO library with Java compiled to JavaScript, Flex and Action Script, Silver Light etc…

2. Rich AJAXPlatform (RAP) – RAP technology is very promising and provides Rich UI on Web for applications that are built for desktop. The RAP platform takes an application that is built using RCP (Rich Client platform) and renders it on the Web – without many changes to the application source code – single source multiple platforms. RAP dynamically exchanges SWT widgets with RWT widgets that work in client-server distributed mode.  Branding for the RAP based web UI provided by Themes.

3. Eclipse Dynamic Languages Toolkit (DLTK) – Very promising technology for adding new editor features to IDE’s. The DLTK relies on a standard “Structure Model” to provide functionality like outline view, search, open type, open declaration, documentation access, code completion. Internally DLTK has a selection engine that provides a lot of capabilities mentioned above.

4. Mylyn – The task based development paradigm promoted by Mylyn has lot of traction and I heard lot of developers starting to use it. The Eclipse 3.4 release seems to further add more stability and extensibility and a host of other SCM (software configuration management) tools are integrating their solutions with Mylyn.

5. Data Tools Project (DTP) – DTP functionality keeps getting better and better – they provide Data source configuration, navigation, SQL  editor, SQL query builder etc... DTP’s real value is in its integration with other projects in the Eclipse ecosystem – like BIRT which makes the story very compelling.

6. Security in Eclipse 3.4 – The security improvements in Eclipse 3.4 are significant. Trusted bundles, ability to encrypt sensitive data in Eclipse workspace and Certificate store in RCP world are some of the enhancements to the Eclipse 3.4 release.

7. JMaki – This open source client-server AJAX framework is mainly driven by Sun and the Glassfish guys and conforms to Open AJAX standards. I was very impressed with the demo and it appeared to be very easy to build Mash-ups. This has Eclipse integration. This framework makes it easy to use most other AJAX toolkits (DOJO, etc…) and it acts as a standardized layer below the AJAX toolkits. More details at

Sunil Belgaonkar

Sunil Belgaonkar brings more than 22 years of software industry experience to his position at Progress, and is currently responsible for the strategy and direction of OpenEdge business.


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