IDE – Eclipse
August 12, 2009
Developer :Eclipse Foundation
Latest release :188.8.131.52 / October 23, 2007
Available in :Multilingual
Genre :Software development
License :Eclipse Public License
Eclipse is an open-source software framework written primarily in Java. In its default form it is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Java developers, consisting of the Java Development Tools (JDT) and the Eclipse Compiler for Java (ECJ). Users can extend its capabilities by installing plug-ins written for the Eclipse software framework, such as development toolkits for other programming languages, and can write and contribute their own plug-in modules. Language packs are available for over a dozen languages.
The basis for Eclipse is the Rich Client Platform (RCP).
The following components constitute the rich client platform:
1. OSGi – a standard bundling framework
2. Core platform – boot Eclipse, run plug-ins
3. The SWT – a portable widget toolkit
4. JFace – viewer classes to bring model view controller programming to SWT,
file buffers, text handling, text editors
5. The Eclipse Workbench – views, editors, perspectives, wizards
Eclipse’s widgets are implemented by a widget toolkit for Java called SWT, unlike most Java applications, which use the Java standard Abstract Window Toolkit (AWT) or Swing. Eclipse’s user interface also leverages an intermediate GUI layer called JFace, which simplifies the construction of applications based on SWT.
Eclipse employs plug-ins in order to provide all of its functionality on top of (and including) the rich client platform, in contrast to some other applications where functionality is typically hard coded. This plug-in mechanism is a lightweight software componentry framework. In addition to allowing Eclipse to be extended using other programming languages such as C and Python, the plug-in framework allows Eclipse to work with networking applications such as telnet, and database management systems. The plug-in architecture supports writing any desired extension to the environment, such as for configuration management. Java and CVS support is provided in the Eclipse SDK.
The key to the seamless integration of tools with Eclipse is the plugin. With the exception of a small run-time kernel, everything in Eclipse is a plug-in. This means that a plug-in you develop integrates with Eclipse in exactly the same way as other plug-ins; in this respect, all features are created equal. Eclipse provides plugins for a wide variety of features, some of which are through third parties using both free and commercial models. Examples of plugins include UML plugin for Sequence and other UML diagrams, plugin for Database explorer, etc. Eclipse plugins are straightforward to create and easy to integrate for any Java developer.
The Eclipse SDK includes the Eclipse Java Development Tools, offering an IDE with a built-in incremental Java compiler and a full model of the Java source files. This allows for advanced refactoring techniques and code analysis. The IDE also makes use of a workspace, in this case a set of metadata over a flat file space allowing external file modifications as long as the corresponding workspace “resource” is refreshed afterwards. The Visual Editor project allows interfaces to be created interactively, hence allowing Eclipse to be used as a RAD tool.
Eclipse began as an IBM Canada project. It was developed by OTI (Object Technology International) as a replacement for VisualAge, which itself had been developed by OTI. In November 2001, a consortium was formed to further the development of Eclipse as open source. In 2003, the Eclipse Foundation was created.
Eclipse 3.0 (released on June 21 2004) selected the OSGi Service Platform specifications as the runtime architecture.
Eclipse was originally released under the Common Public License, but was later re licensed under the Eclipse Public License. The Free Software Foundation has said that both licenses are free software licenses, but are incompatible with the GNU General Public License (GPL). Mike Milinkovich, of the Eclipse Foundation has commented that moving to the GPL will be considered when version 3 of the GPL is released.