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Eclipse Ganymede: Web Tools build SOA foundation

Eclipse Ganymede offers new WSDL features and enhancements to the Web Tools Platform designed to make life easier for developers working of SOA projects.

The Eclipse Foundation's annual release train, code named Ganymede, is available starting today. This final article in the series on Ganymede covers the Web Tools Platform updates, as well as highlights from the 23 different Eclipse projects in the release. Find the rest of the series here.

As you design a WSDL there's a graphic representation of it. For any kind of real-life WSDL that can get pretty large and pretty complex.
David M. Williams
WTP Project Management Committee leadEclipse

The Web Tools Platform (WTP) is one of the oldest Eclipse projects and provides much of the structure for newer projects including SOA Tools.

"Part of our philosophy at WTP is to provide tools that people can use right out of the box," said David M. Williams, WTP Project Management Committee lead. "We also put a lot of emphasis on making sure we are an extensible platform. The benefit of that is that other projects like SOA Tools can be build on top of us and reuse our WSDL editors and things like that."

WTP is also used in whole or in parts in leading commercial integrated development environments (IDEs) including those from IBM, SAP AG, Oracle Corp. and BEA Systems Inc., which is now part of Oracle. This is a two-way street as vendors provide the code for the open source WTP and then incorporate the resulting Eclipse technology into their commercial products.

"We're widely used in the industry," Williams said.

WTP supports Apache Geronimo, and Sun Microsystems GlassFish. It also offers 14 server adapters that allow WTP to work with existing servers. Additionally, Williams said 15 other server adapters have been developed by companies independent of WTP.

WSDL improvements
The enhancements to WTP in Ganymede include features which may sound like little things, but are designed to make tasks easier for developers who work with it on a daily basis, the project lead said. This includes "much requested" UI enhancements that will be helpful to developers working on SOA projects, he said.

"For example, the WSDL editor now supports zoom-in and zoom-out on the design page," Williams said. "As you design a WSDL there's a graphic representation of it. For any kind of real-life WSDL that can get pretty large and pretty complex. This allows you to make the picture bigger or smaller so you can focus in on the part that you really want to look at."

Another improvement, which sounds like a small thing, but was much requested and will help people working with these tools day-to-day, is the ability to open a WSDL that is not in Eclipse.

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IDEs for Web services – Eclipse

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Previously, the WSDL file had to be imported before it could be looked at or worked on with the WTP editor, Williams explained.

"A lot of times people may just want to have a quick look at a file," he said. "They want to make a quick fix. They don't want to go to the extra trouble of importing it."

WTP also has improved UI support for Java EE 5 including:

  • Servlet Filters wizards
  • Application Lifecycle Listeners
  • Meta-data descriptor trees in the Project Explorer module
  • Bundled Libraries support for EAR projects

What else is new in Ganymede
Ganymede improvements and key features in projects not previously covered in this series of articles includes:

Equinox and Runtime Projects enhancements:

  • A new provisioning system, called p2, designed to make it easier for Eclipse users to install and update Eclipse.
  • Equinox, the Eclipse OSGi framework, offers new security features, including preferences like storage for sensitive data such as passwords and login credentials using Java encryption mechanisms; and an improved method for using the Java authentication service (JAAS) in Equinox.
  • Eclipse Communication Framework (ECF) has added real-time shared editing and other communications features to allow developers to communicate and collaborate from within Eclipse.

Developer Tools
  • A new JavaScript IDE, JavaScript Development Toolkit (JSDT), provides the same level of support for JavaScript as the Java Development Tools (JDT) provides for Java. New features include code completion, quick fix, formatting and validation.
  • Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) offers an improved JavaScript editor and a new JavaScript debugger for debugging report event handlers. In addition, cross tables have been improved to support multiple measures, display measure values and totals as text or as charts, providing added support for cross table scripting and offering better filtering options.
  • Eclipse Data Tools Platform (DTP) has a new graphical SQL query editor, called the SQL Query Builder, and improved usability of connection profile creation and management for users and adopters/extenders.
  • Dali Java Persistence Tools has an expanded UI including a new Persistence.xml editor, new Entity and XML Mapping File wizards and JPA specific contributions to the Project Explorer. Dali has also improved configuration and validation with support for mapping with annotations, XML, or with a combination of annotations and XML.

Eclipse has further information on the projects available today for download at

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