This is the first in a series of four articles previewing the Eclipse Foundation's annual downloadable project release, code named Ganymede, which is set for Wednesday, June 25. Find the rest of the series here.
Next week will mark the fifth annual June "release train" of Eclipse Projects, which this year is named Ganymede in keeping with the open source project's tradition of using the moons of Jupiter as its naming convention.
Providing a preview of what the release offers developers working on service-oriented architecture (SOA) implementations, Mike Milinkovich, director of the Eclipse Foundation, noted that this year there are 24 projects and 18 million lines of code, up slightly from last year's Europa release of 21 projects and 17 million lines of code.
No other open source group or even commercial software vendor does an annual mass software release, which seems to be unique to Eclipse. The predictability of the annual Eclipse releases is important to its commercial adoption, Milinkovich said, because organizations can count on the unified release of new versions of the projects at the same time each year. For product planning, Eclipse adopters know when to expect the next versions, he said.
"If we are doing these releases, the first question has got to be why are we doing them," he said. "The number one reason is to help spur commercial adoption and make it easier for users. In both the cases of commercial adopters and end users they are using many Eclipse projects now, not just the platform project. That means they have to deal with project interdependencies, and alignment of version compatibility."
Those issues are ameliorated by having one unified release. Also, organizations building tools based on Eclipse do not have to wait for piecemeal release of various components, which Milinkovich said is important for the adoption of Eclipse by commercial software companies.
"That's a big part of the motivation for doing these release trains," he said. "If they are going to build a product on top of it, basically they are getting the complete suite of technology a lot faster than they would otherwise."
Milinkovich pointed to key project updates in Ganymede that are important to developers and architects working on SOA implementations.
SOA Tools Project (STP)
STP offers a new Service Component Architecture (SCA) designer for composite application development. "It's a graphical tool so you can create composite applications quickly," Milinkovich said. A new SOA Policy Editor is designed to make it easier for developers to construct and manipulate XML expressions in conformance with the WS-Policy standard. The latest version of STP also provides improved editing capabilities for Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) 1.1 for business process design.
The OSGi framework implementation and component model on which the Eclipse RCP and IDE platforms are based features a new provisioning system called P2. It replaces the previous "update manager," which consisted of a set of APIs and a user interface. Update manager allowed users, who already had Eclipse, to discover and install new plug-ins and features. P2 is designed to make that process easier. "In the old update manager," Milinkovich explained, "if you had nested dependencies, if would often fail to figure out what it needed to pull down to make a functioning system for the end user." P2 is able to "figure it out" better and thus is more reliable for updates. There are also new security features including support for Java Authentication Service and encryption of passwords in applications.
As this series on Ganymede continues, the Eclipse Modeling Framework's new release features will be previewed tomorrow. Next week will focus on the Rich Ajax Platform and the SOA Tools Project.