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Eclipse attracts strong developer interest

Developers have shown great interest in the open-source Eclipse platform, tools and plug-ins created by IBM at the EclipseCon 2004.

"IBM is still going to be the primary driver of Eclipse as far as what's going to happen with it," said Thomas Murphy, an analyst at Meta Group. 

He added that it will be interesting to see how board members influence the direction of Eclipse as its management organisation moves towards becoming an independent entity and how closely they will follow standards produced by the Java Community Process (JCP), created by Sun Microsystems to evolve Java technology. 

Several of the 58 members of the independent Eclipse management organisation said they were pleased to see IBM relinquish control, are convinced the company is committed to open development and expect to play an influential role in the organisation. 

David Mercer, chief executive officer of Scapa Technologies, said his 25-person company has expertise in test and performance tools and was welcomed by IBM and other larger suppliers.

"We're setting up a test and performance infrastructure for Eclipse upon which test tools will be built," he said. "We're running this project, and we're a small company." 

Dave Zygmont, president of Metanology, maker of sophisticated model-based development technology, predicted that Eclipse's evolution to an independent entity will drive adoption. 

Lee Nackman, vice-president of desktop development tools and the chief technology officer in IBM's Rational software division, said the company has no plans to cut back on its commitment now that more suppliers will be sharing the management load. 

"Eclipse is really important to IBM. I'm basing my whole tool product line on the Eclipse technology. This is not a game for us," Nackman said. 

Attendees showed keen interest in new features in the Eclipse 3.0 release due to be finalised in June. 

Features include Swing components and Abstract Window Toolkit (AWT) widgets to be embedded in an interface built on Eclipse's Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT). Swing and AWT, which are used to build graphical user interfaces, are endorsed by the JCP.

Eclipse also features the Rich Client Platform (RCP), which will significantly reduce the amount of code needed to write graphical user interfaces.

The Eclipse RCP effort enables developers to build a wide range of business applications - not just integrated development environments. 

Carol Sliwa writes for Computerworld


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