BEA touts Eclipse participation

BEA Systems on Tuesday fleshed out plans to participate in the Eclipse Foundation for open source development tools.

BEA Systems has fleshed out plans to participate in the Eclipse Foundation for open source development tools, citing intentions to base its integrated development environment (IDE) around Eclipse and make several contributions.

The company's climbing aboard Eclipse represents a turnabout, since the vendor had been one of the few holdouts. In explaining its change of heart, BEA officials cited IBM's divestiture of Eclipse, which has become a separate entity, and Eclipse scoring a market victory over the rival NetBeans open source tools initiative led by Sun Microsystems.

"BEA's joining the Eclipse Foundation ratifies the notion that Eclipse is a broad industry community," vice-president of product marketing at BEA, Bill Roth, said.

IBM founded Eclipse while companies such as Oracle and Borland Software have participated previously.

Borland next week is expected to make an announcement related to its participation in the organisation while Sybase did so Tuesday.

BEA is undertaking several key initiatives in its Eclipse venture. The BEA WebLogic Workshop IDE will be retooled around the Eclipse framework.

Codenamed Daybreak and due in Fall 2005, the next version of Workshop will feature Eclipse functionality plus a framework for developing across the BEA WebLogic middleware stack, director of product marketing for BEA, Nils Gilman, said.

IDE plugins will be provided to Eclipse for functions such as connectivity to the WebLogic Portal and Integration products.

BEA also will offer a package that featured the Eclipse framework, plug-ins and support, Gilman said.

It will also serve as co-lead on the Eclipse Web Tools Platform project, which is intended to provide for building of Web-based tools. The company will donate eight full-time employees to the project. They hold the ranks of high-level Strategic Developer and Board Member within Eclipse.

BEA is also merging its AspectWerkz project for aspect-oriented programming with the BEA AspectJ project.

Version 5 of AspectJ was due this spring and would feature management of large numbers of objects in an object-oriented environment, Gilman said. The company will contribute plug-ins to Eclipse based on memory leak monitoring technology used in the BEA JRockit Java Virtual Machine.

BEA also has proposed starting a multilanguage compiler project within Eclipse based on the company's Javelin technology.

Sybase, meanwhile, will elevate its status in Eclipse from member to Strategic Developer.

"The importance of this is we are going to contribute and evolve a lot more with Eclipse from this point on," vice president of engineering at Sybase, David Tong, said.

The company will provide developer resources and propose a new Data Tools Project at Eclipse. The goal of the project is to develop a comprehensive data management tooling framework.

The EclipseCon 2005 technical conference pertaining to Eclipse is being held next week in Burlingame, California. Founded in 2001, Eclipse has had more than 50 million downloads of its technology as of the end of 2004, according to Eclipse.

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