Eclipse WTP – Downloads and BEA Vision

The Eclipse Web Tools Platform (WTP) 1.0 tools are now available as a developer release, and aim to make it easier for devs to build and validate a variety of enterprise-caliber web services. IDN looks at the WTP tools, which officially ship in July, and talks with folks at BEA who will bring a broader vision for WTP to help with visual development and workflow.

Tags: Eclipse, WTP, BEA, Features, WebLogic Workshop, Web Services, Tools Platform,

The Eclipse WTP 1.0 tools, now available as a developer release, will make it easier for Eclipse users to build and validate a variety of enterprise-caliber web services.

IDN looks at the WTP tools, which officially ship this summer, and talks with folks at BEA who will bring a broader vision for WTP to help with visual development and workflow.

First, let's take a quick tour of the WTP technology.

Inside WTP 1.0 - Features, Directions
The Eclipse WTP 1.0 web services tools include authoring tools for WSDL, XML and XML Schema standards, and wizards to simplify the Web service creation process. Other Eclipse-based tools available for download from the WTP Project are server control, data access, XML, J2EE and EJB tools.

Eclipse's Milinkovich said, "BEA's vision, talent and resources can be incredibly important to ensuring the success of our platform moving forward," adding that given BEA's broad access to both executive-level and technical users BEA can bring "a great deal of power and muscle to our efforts."

Jochen Krause, WTP PMC member and managing director of Innoopract, said Eclipse WTP has brought to market a "rich set of Web services tools that are not only free and easy to use but features critical functionality such as standards conformance, validation and testing."

Other vendor donators include: the ObjectWeb consortium, lomboz, IBM (IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere), Bull, Exadel, Frameworx, Genuitec, Innoopract, INRIA, JBoss, OpenWide and Thales IS.

Now, BEA Enters the WTP Mix
BEA plans to incorporate WTP capabilities into future releases of BEA WebLogic Workshop, and enhance tooling for its J2EE and Web-enabled application development has raised a lot of eyebrows -- and interest among Java devs and architects.

Here are some details:

With the next version of Workshop, code-named Daybreak, BEA currently plans to move its implementation of the WebLogic Workshop IDE framework to the Eclipse open tools platform.

Daybreak's plans call for helping developers using BEA WebLogic Workshop to not only be able to take advantage of Workshop's innovations aimed at simplifying the development of Java and service-oriented architectures, but also to have full access to the Eclipse platform features such as::

  • Core IDE Features -- jUnit test integration, re-factoring, better source editing -- Superior CVS support, ClearCase, Perforce and Subversion -- Property driven configuration -- Design and source views
  • Build & Debug -- Incremental build -- JDT debugging features
  • Community Plug-in capabilities -- Apache Maven integration, JavaDoc Builders, JNDI browsers
  • HTML editors, deployment descriptor editors

    Inside BEA's Vision for Eclipse's WTP
    So, what is the reason BEA joined Eclipse now?

    BEA's Nils Gilman, director of product marketing for WebLogic Workshop told Integration Developer News that Eclipse shows "differences in three (3) main areas over the last year or two," and all were important to BEA's decision to join.

    They are, as Gilman described them:
    1. The code base."We first looked at the [Eclipse] codebase when building the WLW product and would have been great to reuse. But, it was not of the right quality for our feature set. But, that has changed a lot, a tremendous amount, in Eclipse 3.0.".
    2. A stronger community. . "The developer community, and certainly the user community, are both getting more excited about Eclipse. Everyone has noticed the overwhelming adoption in the last 9 months to a year."
    3. Openness."The degree of influence appears to be much more broad. To me, Eclipse today looks much more like a joint venture across many vendors - both small and large, and not just mainly IBM with a few smaller partners. "

    Another BEA exec behind the increased involvement in Eclipse is
    Cliff Schmidt, BEA's Open Source Program Office.. IDN also spoke with Schmidt about what BEA (and BEA customers) like about Eclipse, and what BEA's plans are for WTP.

    IDN Interview with
    Cliff Schmidt,
    Manager of Standards and Open Source strategy for WebLogic Workshop product
    BEA Systems Inc.

    IDN: What are your overall objectives in joining Eclipse as a Strategic Developer?

    SchmidtWe are leading web tools platform project by taking a leadership role in the project for any J2EE tools, such as XML Schema and Web Tools Platform project. By leading the WTP project, BEA is able to not just contribute developers to not just work on existing code but look at overall architecture to support the things customers are looking for.

    IDN: What is the reaction from your customer base?

    Schmidt: Customers happy we're doing it. They are looking for a single tooling framework for development tasks, and Eclipse is increasingly becoming a tool of choice and looking for vendor support for plug-in.

    IDN: So, is Eclipse getting traction would you say? BEA could have joined as a Strategic Developer many years ago, so why now?

    Schmidt: BEA talks to a wide variety of customers - ranging from the big corporate executives and CxOs who write the checks for our products, as well as IT managers and the individual developers. Interest in Eclipse has increased across-the-board for all three groups, especially within the last 6 months or so.

    IDN: Even among your "executive" audience?

    Schmidt: Well, to be candid, the code you can download from Eclipse today may not be what execs are looking for. But, they are increasingly interested in Eclipse' ability to speed development, integrate with a all sorts of Java server products and even help developers migrate from [traditional] J2EE development to web services, which is where BEA's involvement will come in. And, in fact, when we talk in those terms we're already seeing the business analysts taking an interest in Eclipse.

    IDN: Let's talk about that. What types of values does BEA see in joining Eclipse at this time?

    Schmidt: BEA's next version of Workshop, codenamed "Daybreak," is going to be implemented on Eclipse. We're doing this because Eclipse provides a really quality core of IDE features that we can leverage and add value on - particularly tooling for rules-driven apps

    With the latest Eclipse Framework (version 3.x), ISVs have become excited about Eclipse, because the way Eclipse is architected ISVs can leverage some very strong IDE features across the development lifecycyle. In other words, no matter where you want to innovate there is capacity to plug your work into the Eclipse platform.

    IDN: In that technical context, what features in Eclipse does BAE find so attractive that they could leverage it in products?

    Schmidt:Eclipse' JSP editor and refactoring features are strong, and BEA can get a lot of value from those types of features for our work on tooling for visual development and rules-based.