Java Interop “Critical,” Says Eclipse Exec

Eclipse Executive Director Mike Milinkovich says that Java interoperability with other languages, including XML and .NET, will be key to Java's continued enterprise success. But, in an interview with IDN, Milinkovich stated that Eclipse will remain focused on developer tooling issues -- and not take up any interoperability solutions that might stray into "runtime' technologies.

Tags: Eclipse, Tools Project, Developers, Java, Tooling, Framework, Performance Tools,

Java interoperability with other languages, including .NET, XML and legacy, could also be another area where Milinkovich says Eclipse engineers will likely turn more attention in - within the limits of a developer "tooling" environment. Milinkovich told IDN that many Java/J2EE interop issues "are staring to stray into the 'runtime' world versus the 'tooling' world." But he quickly conceded that "interoperability is critical for Java."

Milinkovich put it this way: "Large greenfield applications for a Global 500 are extremely rare. Java developers need to integrate with both the existing infrastructure They need to integrate with the business infrastructure and business rules. Java is a good technology, but it's not a silver bullet. I don't care what technology you talk about over the last 20 years, even the best ones couldn't do everything and Java isn't different from that. It provides a great platform, but it's not a panacea."

Breaking Free from IBM's Influence?
With a wave of new interest from leading Java/J2EE ISVs, the Eclipse Foundation seems to have finally come well out beyond IBM's long shadow.

During last week's Eclipsecon, Eclipse named four (4) new strategic developers (SDs), who will contribute $250K each to Eclipse, and dedicate developer resources to the build-out of some key added functionality for Eclipse. Among the new faces are Java heavyweights BEA Systems and Borland, and enterprise database giant Sybase.

The fourth new Eclipse SD, Scapa Technologies, is a small Scottish firm, but has been a long-time pioneer in Open Source support for Java test and performance features. Scapa execs led Eclipses Hyades Tools Project until it was restructured as the Eclipse Test and Performance Tools Platform (TPTP) Project last August. Scapa's Dr. Norman now leads the Testing Tools Project within TPTP.

The addition of 4 strategic developers to Eclipse is a huge jump in deep commitment from vendors. While the Eclipse Foundation currently counts 91 companies in its membership, only eight of these companies are strategic developers

"Anyone who now tries to tar Eclipse with an IBM brush has a hidden agenda," Eclipse Executive Director Mike Milinkovich (himself formerly from Oracle), told Integration Developer News.

Milinkovich said this latest infusion of strategic developers (and the money and personnel they bring), Eclipse can get aggressive in building out new features to help cut the time and cost for Java projects - both by toolsmakers and in-house developers.

"The idea [for Eclipse] was to be sure there was a really technically solid framework, so that people could build portable tools on top of that. So much energy has been wasted in the tools arena over the years by rebuilding essentially the same function over and over again, Milinkovich said. "And, now that tools companies and developers are looking at business intelligence, web integration and performance, we are moving into those areas, so far as we can in tooling."

  • BEA Systems - BEA will take a lead role in the Web Tools Project at Eclipse, which focuses on tooling infrastructure to support J2EE and Web-enabled application development, with a plan to incorporate WTP capabilities into future releases of BEA WebLogic Workshop. BEA is proposing a new Language Development Tools project and is also merging its open source AspectWerkz project with the Eclipse AspectJ project. (Note: The next version of BEA WebLogic Workshop, code-named "Daybreak" will support a dev framework for SOAs, along with Eclipse tooling framework and plug-ins.)

  • Borland - The overall direction will be to bring better support for application lifecycle management (ALM) to the Eclipse framework, as well as enhance support for modeling through the design, deploy, and testing cycle, sources from Borland and Eclipse said. The precise focus is still being defined by the parties.

  • Scapa Technologies Ltd. - Scapa will focus on the Eclipse Test & Performance Tools Platform (TPTP) Project is dedicated to providing a robust, extensible, commercial quality, and freely available industry platform intended to reduce the cost and complexity of implementing effective and highly interoperable test & performance tools. The Top-Level TPTP project consists of a large amount of common infrastructure in the areas of user interface, EMF based data models, data collection and communications control, as well as remote execution environments. All of these subsystems were included in the former Hyades platform (where Scapa engineers were co-creators).

  • Sybase - Sybase will lead a Data Tools Project at Eclipse, with focus on Data Tools Project, with focus on building out a comprehensive data management tooling framework for Eclipse. (Sybase has a Web services Eclipse plug-in that provides devs and admins the ability to manage EAServer web services.).

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