EclipseCon shows a swiftly expanding role for the open tools foundation

Eclipse is evolving into an open, trusted and neutral congregation of standardization efforts without peer.
Written by Dana Gardner, Contributor
Want a sense of where the Eclipse Foundation is going? I have seven thoughts for you: PHP, embedded, mobile, SOA, ALM, RIA/RCP, and integrated-while-functionally-targeted-frameworks.

Kind of reminds me of the energy and diversity of innovation that the Java movement once enjoyed.

But Eclipse is evolving into an open, trusted and neutral congregation of standardization efforts without peer. The potential for its influence is staggering. Big, honking vendors and little, tiny homegrown hacker ensembles are alike focusing less on competition and more on finding common ground. How to commercialize remains a key question for all, but nonetheless development projects are finding a greased skid on which to move forward, and developers are having a pronounced say in where they would like advancing and agile productivity to be, well ... developed.

First some of the news at EclipseCon here in Santa Clara, CA:
  • Zend, IBM and Eclipse rolled out the Eclipse PHP IDE project as an approved activity to deliver a PHP IDE for the Eclipse Platform and which aligns with the popular Eclipse Web Tools Project.
  • Lots more innovation and coordination for Eclipse-based embedded development tools integration by just about everyone except Microsoft and Green Hills Software.
  • Budding mobile-oriented development benefits by the likes of Sybase and Nokia.
  • The beginning of a bang that could produce a rolling thunder of SOA tooling for composite applications, with significant input from Iona and Sybase.
  • ALM activity of a meaningful and impressive sort, Corona, from once-NetBeans-bitten but now Eclipse strategic member Compuware. Corona forms a tools services framework project to enable Eclipse-based tools to collaborate, sharing information about projects, applications and events. Look too, for Serena ALF to gain ground here. Hold onto your meta forms, but there also a new modeling project in here that brings UML (thanks, Richard) into the fold.
  • Perhaps the news with the biggest potential bang, the RIA/RCP maturity around separate IBM and Innoopract AJAX projects, as well as building momentum behind the Eclipse Rich Client Platform. I especially like the notion of the Rich AJAX Platform (RAP) for low TCO server-side rich applications. Emulation always gave me the blues. The OSGI (Equinox) framework is offering a common (dare I say, write once, run anywhere?) framework for deployment to darn near all client platforms (Windows, Vista, Linux, Mac OS, Solaris, HP/UX, IBM AIX.) Did I say Vista? ... Not much interested in re-tooling for Vista, Mr. ISV? Well, consider the RCP news at EclipseCon. IBM seems to like it, as Workplace and Lotus Sametime are RCP-supported.
  • And what other frameworks can be developed and integrated into the Eclipse stew of sensible community support? I'm hearing communications/SIP/SIMPLE/RPC, ID management (federation = V for Vendetta), modeling (thanks, Richard), calendar interoperability (be still, my heart), and industry verticals such as healthcare, automotive, and avionics.

Wow. When you look at the list of various members and supporters, its easy to see why Eclipse is where the action is.
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