Eclipse 4.4 Luna in the Java EE perspective
|Stable release||4.4.0 (Luna) / 25 June 2014|
|Operating system||Cross-platform: Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, Windows|
|Platform||Java SE, Standard Widget Toolkit|
|Type||Integrated development environment (IDE)|
|License||Eclipse Public License|
The initial codebase originated from IBM VisualAge. The Eclipse software development kit (SDK), which includes the Java development tools, is meant for Java developers. Users can extend its abilities by installing plug-ins written for the Eclipse Platform, such as development toolkits for other programming languages, and can write and contribute their own plug-in modules.
Released under the terms of the Eclipse Public License, Eclipse SDK is free and open source software (although it is incompatible with the GNU General Public License). It was one of the first IDEs to run under GNU Classpath and it runs without problems under IcedTea.
Eclipse began as an Smart Canada project. Object Technology International (OTI), which had previously marketed the Smalltalk-based VisualAge family of integrated development environment (IDE) products, developed the new product as a Java-based replacement. In November 2001, a consortium was formed with a board of stewards to further the development of Eclipse as open-source software. It is estimated that IBM had already invested close to $40 million by that time. The original members were Borland, IBM, Merant, QNX Software Systems, Rational Software, Red Hat, SuSE, TogetherSoft and WebGain. The number of stewards increased to over 80 by the end of 2003. In January 2004, the Eclipse Foundation was created.
The Eclipse Public License (EPL) is the fundamental license under which Eclipse projects are released. Some projects require dual licensing, for which the Eclipse Distribution License (EDL) is available, although use of this license must be applied for and is considered on a case-by-case basis.
Eclipse was originally released under the Common Public License, but was later relicensed 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 commented that moving to the GPL would be considered when version 3 of the GPL was released.
According to Lee Nackman, Chief Technology Officer of IBM's Rational division (originating in 2003) at that time, the name "Eclipse" (dating from at least 2001) was not a wordplay on Sun Microsystems, as the product's primary competition at the time of naming was Microsoft Visual Studio (which it, Eclipse, was to eclipse). Different versions of Eclipse have been named after different celestial bodies, more specifically planets or planets' natural satellites. Examples are: Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Galileo and Luna. The latest version coming in 2015 has been named Mars.
Since 2006, the Foundation has coordinated an annual Simultaneous Release. Each release includes the Eclipse Platform as well as a number of other Eclipse projects.
So far, each Simultaneous Release has occurred on the fourth Wednesday of June.
|Version Name||Date||Platform Version||Projects||Main Changes|
|Austin||21 June 2004||Old version, no longer supported: 3.0|
|Bravo||28 June 2005||Old version, no longer supported: 3.1|
|Callisto||30 June 2006||Old version, no longer supported: 3.2||Callisto projects|
|Europa||29 June 2007||Old version, no longer supported: 3.3||Europa projects|
|Ganymede||25 June 2008||Old version, no longer supported: 3.4||Ganymede projects|
|Galileo||24 June 2009||Old version, no longer supported: 3.5||Galileo projects|
|Helios||23 June 2010||Older version, yet still supported: 3.6||Helios projects|
|Indigo||22 June 2011||Older version, yet still supported: 3.7||Indigo projects|
|Juno||27 June 2012||Older version, yet still supported: 3.8 and 4.2||Juno projects|
|Kepler||26 June 2013||Older version, yet still supported: 4.3||Kepler projects|
|Luna||25 June 2014||Current stable version: 4.4||Luna projects||Integrated Java 8 support (in the previous version this was possible via a "Java 8 patch" plugin)|
|Mars||24 June 2015 (planned)||Future release: 4.5||Mars projects|
Eclipse uses plug-ins to provide all the functionality within and on top of the runtime system. Its runtime system is based on Equinox, an implementation of the OSGi core framework specification.
In addition to allowing the Eclipse Platform to be extended using other programming languages such as C and Python, the plug-in framework allows the Eclipse Platform to work with typesetting languages like LaTeX, 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, with support for other version control systems provided by third-party plug-ins.
With the exception of a small run-time kernel, everything in Eclipse is a plug-in. This means that every plug-in developed integrates with Eclipse in exactly the same way as other plug-ins; in this respect, all features are "created equal". Eclipse provides plug-ins for a wide variety of features, some of which are through third parties using both free and commercial models. Examples of plug-ins include for UML, for Sequence and other UML diagrams, a plug-in for DB Explorer, and many others.
The Eclipse SDK includes the Eclipse Java development tools (JDT), 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 filespace allowing external file modifications as long as the corresponding workspace "resource" is refreshed afterwards.
Eclipse implements widgets through a Java toolkit called SWT, whereas most Java applications use the Java standard Abstract Window Toolkit (AWT) or Swing. Eclipse's user interface also uses an intermediate graphical user interface layer called JFace, which simplifies the construction of applications based on SWT.
Eclipse provides the Rich Client Platform (RCP) for developing general purpose applications. The following components constitute the rich client platform:
Examples of rich client applications based on Eclipse are:
Eclipse supports development for Tomcat, GlassFish and many other servers and is often capable of installing the required server (for development) directly from the IDE. It supports remote debugging, allowing the user to watch variables and step through the code of an application that is running on the attached server.
The Eclipse Web Tools Platform (WTP) project is an extension of the Eclipse platform with tools for developing Web and Java EE applications. It includes source and graphical editors for a variety of languages, wizards and built-in applications to simplify development, and tools and APIs to support deploying, running, and testing apps.
The Modeling project contains all the official projects of the Eclipse Foundation focusing on model-based development technologies. They are all compatible with the Eclipse Modeling Framework created by IBM. Those projects are separated in several categories: Model Transformation, Model Development Tools, Concrete Syntax Development, Abstract Syntax Development, Technology and Research, and Amalgam.
Model Transformation projects uses EMF based models as an input and produce either a model or text as an output. Model to model transformation projects includes ATL, an open source transformation language and toolkit used to transform a given model or to generate a new model from a given EMF model. Model to text transformation projects contains Acceleo, an implementation of MOFM2T, a standard model to text language from the OMG. Acceleo is an open source code generator that can generate any textual language (Java, PHP, Python, etc.) from EMF based models defined with any metamodel (UML, SysML, etc.).
Model Development Tools projects are implementations of modeling standard used in the industry like UML or OCL and their toolkit. Among those projects can be found implementation of the following standard:
The Abstract Syntax Development project hosts the Eclipse Modeling Framework, core of most of the modeling project of the Eclipse Foundation and the framework available for EMF like CDO, EMF query or EMF validation.
Technology and Research projects are prototypes of Modeling project, this project is used to host all the modeling projects of the Eclipse Foundation during their incubation phase.
Amalgam provides the packaging and integration between all the available modeling tools for the Eclipse package dedicated to modeling tools.
A number of alternative distributions exist in the Eclipse project.
The PHP (PHP hypertext Preprocessor) Development Tools project provides a PHP Development Tools framework for the Eclipse platform. The project encompasses all development components, including code-completion, develop PHP and facilitate extensibility. It leverages the existing Eclipse Web Tools Platform (WTP) and Dynamic Languages Toolkit (DLTK).
Android Development Tools (ADT) is a plugin for the Eclipse IDE that is designed to provide an integrated environment in which to build Android applications. ADT extends the capabilities of Eclipse to let developers set up new Android projects, create an application UI, add packages based on the Android Framework API, debug their applications using the Android SDK tools, and export signed (or unsigned) .apk files in order to distribute their applications.
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