Eclipse Foundation Touts Its Development Platform's Rising Popularity


Sixty percent of the 384 respondents in the survey, conducted by Evans Data, said Eclipse is their primary development platform, up from 33 percent in last year's study. Rich-client application development is a particularly rapid growth area, with 23 percent of respondents saying they use Eclipse RCP (Rich Client Platform) for their projects -- a 130 percent increase from last year's results.

"We were expecting growth in terms of RCP, but I don't think we were expecting 130 percent," said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation.

Milinkovich plans to highlight Evans' report in his keynote address on Thursday, calling the study evidence of the Eclipse ecosystem's growing influence. Created by IBM four years ago and spun off as an independent, open-source technology, Eclipse is a framework for integrating an assortment of application development tools. The young platform has knocked many rivals out of the ring, particularly in the Java space, where Eclipse's adoption is widespread.

EclipseWorld, which opened Thursday, is one of two major annual U.S. gatherings for Eclipse developers. Run by a third-party organization, EclipseWorld focuses on user training and education, whereas the Eclipse Foundation-organized EclipseCon, held each Spring, gathers Eclipse's committers to discuss the platform's road map.

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Eclipse recently launched Callisto, the first of a planned annual series of synchronized project updates. Two months after that shipped, vendors at EclipseWorld will be showing off their Callisto-supporting updates. IBM announced that it will have beta versions of three updated products -- Lotus Designer, Rational Software Architect and Rational Functional Tester -- ready to go by mid-October, with its full application development software line updated for Callisto support by year's end.

IBM also is introducing a customer tech-support service for Eclipse that is comparable to what it offers for its own software tools. Scheduled for launch by the end of the year, the service will be priced at around $400 per developer per year, according to IBM executives.

"When you use Eclipse today, the status quo is that you engage the community support model. That can be slow and difficult for people who don't have guru-level skills," said Gary Cernosek, a market manager for IBM Rational. "We have customers who are using our tools today that are also using Eclipse, and those customers are used to being able to pick up the phone and have support from IBM."

Though Eclipse is best known for its Java tools, the heterogeneous platform supports other development languages. One closely watched initiative, the Eclipse PHP IDE Project, is closing in on its 1.0 release. That project, one of several scheduled to ship in the fourth quarter, will be a hot topic at the show, Milinkovich said.