Eclipse to detail platform, SOA plans at conference

Microsoft, IBM to ponder IDEs at EclipseCon 2009, while Eclipse will show off progress of its E4 platform.

The Eclipse Foundation will cite at the EclipseCon 2009 conference this week the latest developments in areas ranging from the core Eclipse platform to SOA and modeling, including plans to make the platform available as Web services.

The open source tools organization will tout at the event in Santa Clara, Calif. progress of its planned E4 (Eclipse 4.0) platform, which represents the next generation of Eclipse. The popular Eclipse IDE is built on the base platform. A beta release of E4 is planned for this summer with a first release due in 2010, Eclipse Executive Director Mike Milinkovich said.

Plans call for E4 to be implemented as a platform of services available over the Web; currently, Eclipse is implemented as tightly linked plug-ins. Developers could access E4 remotely over the Web.

"One of the scenarios we're hoping to [enable] is to be able to allow developers to work on code remotely through a Web browser," Milinkovich said. "That currently is quite difficult to do."

E4 also will offer improved UI capabilities to offer a more Web-like style of development using stylesheets and XML-based layout descriptors. A model-based approach will be used in the Eclipse workbench. "Right now, there's a lot of places in Eclipse where there's hard-coded relationships, and by modeling those relationships, we'll be able to build our UIs much more flexibly and much more rapidly" said Milinkovich.

At the conference on Thursday, officials from Microsoft and IBM will participate in a session called "Darwin among the IDEs," which will ponder issues pertaining to the IDEs, such as how to deal with multicore and cloud development. Speakers include Tim Wagner, a former Eclipse official who is now principal development manager for the Visual Studio platform at Microsoft, and Kevin McGuire, an Eclipse UI architect at IBM.

In the runtime area, Eclipse will note the planned release of the first release of the Swordfish enterprise service bus for SOA deployments. Code is to be offered for Swordfish 0.8 in early April. "You use it to implement enterprise SOA applications," said Mike Milinkovich, Eclipse executive director.

Swordfish is based on OSGi and leverages open source projects like Eclipse Equinox and Apache ServiceMix. The release has not been called a 1.0-level release because the APIs are not fully ready, according to Milinkovich.

Other capabilities featured in Swordfish include support for distributed deployment and a runtime service registry for loose coupling of services. A monitoring framework tracks messages, and a remote configuration agent can configure distributed servers.

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