EclipseCon 2006 starts next week, and already vendors are gearing up for a big splash at the annual event. One of the companies generating the most buzz lately is Genuitec, who stunned the Eclipse community (and the NetBeans community for that matter) when they announced they had ported the Matisse GUI builder to run as an Eclipse plug-in for users of MyEclipse Enterprise Workbench. The first live showing of this tool running inside Eclipse will be at a reception on Tuesday evening.
In a further surprise, sources indicate a special visitor will be on hand: Tim Cramer, Director for Java Tools at Sun Microsystems. Traditionally, NetBeans and Eclipse have been tough-as-nails competitors for the hearts and minds of Java developers, but Mr. Cramer will be there to make a few comments on the work, and to help answer questions after the presentation.
Note that due to the high level of interest in this event, organizers are having to move it into a larger room. There will be handouts with more information about Matisse and the new location at Genuitec's booth.
So why should you care about all this? Well, of all the tools used to build user interfaces in the Java language, Matisse is one of the most respected. Coupled with custom layout code (provided for free redistribution), Matisse provides a smooth as silk drag-n-drop designer for Swing based forms and other UI elements.
The last high profile visit to EclipseCon by a Sun employee was Sun evangelist Simon Phipps in 2004. Does this kind of cooperation indicate a new rapprochement between the two camps? It's tough to say, but lately bloggers for both sides have been unusually nice to each other. Time will tell.
Watch for more coverage of EclipseCon 2006 in the days ahead.