SOA runtime major step for Eclipse – Milinkovich

The development of an SOA runtime, the release of Ajax tools, a Web services security project and an embrace of PHP demonstrate the vitality of the Eclipse Foundation, its director says.

The Swordfish service-oriented architecture (SOA) runtime is one of the projects highlighted by Mike Milinkovich, director of the Eclipse Foundation, in a preview of next week's EclipseCon 2008 conference.

Having an SOA runtime project at Eclipse is going to be important for Eclipse going forward.
Mike Milinkovich
DirectorEclipse Foundation

"Swordfish is a new project," he said of the SOA runtime, which entered the Eclipse incubation process in January and is expected to emerge later this year and be integrated with the on-going SOA Tools Project (STP). "Having an SOA runtime project at Eclipse is going to be important for Eclipse going forward."

Swordfish, based on code donated by Deutsche Post AG, which uses it for SOA applications that provide logistics support for the DHL package delivery service, makes use of both JBI and SCA, and employs OSGi component modeling approach to application development. In the Eclipse vision, this puts it in a position to challenge the Java Enterprise Edition (JEE) from Sun Microsystems Inc.

The SOA runtime, the release of Ajax Tools Framework (ATF) 1.0, and the initiation of the Higgins Web services security project were three accomplishments Milinkovich listed as he looked back on the year since the last EclipseCon and forward to this year's event.

"We have more tracks and more technical content than we've ever had before," he said of EclipseCon 2008, which opens Monday and includes 350 tutorials and talks. "Last week we passed the previous high water mark for registrations, so it's going to be the biggest EclipseCon so far. We're expecting 1,500 people to attend. We have 47 sponsors, which is another record for EclipseCon."

Asked about the success of Eclipse, which he has directed since shortly after it became independent of its IBM parent in 2004, Milinkovich credited the steady stream of new projects, including Swordfish, which developers find useful.

"Our focus on enabling the commercial ecosystem constantly pulls in a steady stream of new ideas and new products being built on top of Eclipse technology," he said. "The Eclipse community is very interested in seeing the technologies built here at Eclipse appear in commercial products. Having a steady stream of innovative investments and products being built on top of Eclipse drives the dynamism in the Eclipse community."

The continuing commitment to recruiting new committers, improving diversity on the projects, getting Eclipse involved in new technology areas, including runtimes is an important part of the success the foundation has had the past four years, Milinkovich said.

"Eclipse is never standing still," he said. "There's always something new and interesting happening at Eclipse. Developers find that fascinating. They are technical people and they embrace the change and evolution they see in Eclipse."

As evidence of that "change and evolution," he listed the first release of PHP Tools Project, which he said demonstrates that Eclipse is moving beyond its Java roots to embrace other languages.

For more information
Eclipse Swordfish runtime mixes SCA, JBI and OSGi

Check out our Eclipse Learning Guide

"The PHP Tools Project is important to Eclipse because we've always been so closely associated with Java," Milinkovich said. "To have PHP tools coming out of Eclipse, with PHP becoming a large and growing community in its own right, it's very important to us to have PHP tools based on Eclipse out the door."

Among other milestones of the past year, the director, also listed the Europa chain release of new Eclipse tools and updates this past June. The track record of shipping major releases on the same day in June demonstrates that while Eclipse prides itself on innovative technology, it has also proved to developers that it is reliable, he said.

With the next release scheduled for this June, dubbed Ganymede, Milinkovich said, "We continue to be very consistent in the dates that we ship. We're largely motivated in that by making sure we have a good platform for our commercial ecosystem to build on."

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