Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Java Authors: Ian Khan, Harry Trott, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Amit Gupta

Related Topics: Java, Eclipse

Java: Article

What's New in Eclipse?

Eclipse Gained The Backing Of The Key Java Vendors Including BEA, Borland, IBM, SAP, and Sybase

Since Eclipse's first release in 2001, it has become a popular environment for Java development. In the period between March 10 and May 11, 2005, users downloaded over 17,000 copies of one of the production SDK releases and over 3,500 copies of one of the stable (milestone) SDK builds on average every day. A vibrant eco-system of developers, plug-in providers, authors, and bloggers has grown up around it. Eclipse has also gained the backing of the key Java vendors including BEA, Borland, IBM, SAP, and Sybase. Developers like Eclipse because it provides a great platform for building Java applications, and companies like it because it unifies their software tools under one open source umbrella.

 In late June of this year, the latest release of the Eclipse Platform, version 3.1, will be available for download from eclipse.org. In this article, I'll highlight some of the more interesting new features it contains. I'll also discuss some of the other Eclipse projects that are re-leasing new versions at about the same time.

A New Hope for Developers
One of the major new features of Eclipse 3.1 is full support for the new language constructions in J2SE 5.0 (also called J2SE 1.5 in the old numbering scheme). Generics, annotations, enums, auto boxing, enhanced for loop, etc., - it's all in there, both in the underlying compiler and the user interface and code assistance that Eclipse is known for.


Bill Dudney, editor of Eclipse Developer's Journal with Mike Milinkovich during their live SYS-CON.TV interview.

While Eclipse didn't invent the idea of refactoring, it provides one of the most complete implementations. Eclipse 3.1 comes with a number of new and enhanced refactorings, code assistance, and "quick fixes", many in conjunction with its J2SE5 support. For example, you can put your cursor on a conventional for loop that iterates over an array (see Figure 1), press Ctrl+1, and Eclipse will offer to convert it to one of the new style for loops (see Figure 2).

At the heart of Eclipse's Java support is a fully compliant incremental Java compiler, written in Java and supporting Java language levels 1.3, 1.4, and now 5.0. Having its own compiler brings Eclipse some benefits including fast compilation, smoother debugging and refactoring, and a lot of diagnostic warnings. The compiler has found several uses outside of Eclipse. It's bundled with many popular Linux distributions and commercial applications, and recent versions of Apache Tomcat use it to compile JSPs. It forms the basis of the AspectJ compiler. And I wouldn't be surprised to see the Eclipse compiler used in the recently announced Apache Harmony project as well.

Other usability enhancements make 3.1 more productive. For example, the new release contains a more integrated help system that changes to show help for what you're doing at all times. One of the largest improvements is in the area of Preferences. Addressing a key user request, the Preference dialog now offers the ability to filter by keywords, for example, you can easily find all options having to do with "tabs" by typing that keyword into the filter box. In addition, Web-like navigation has been added to link to related preferences and go forward and backward in the history.

To make preferences easier to find, in Eclipse 3.1 the Preferences dialog can be opened directly from many editors and views through the context menu. For example, if you right-click in the Java editor and select Preferences..., the dialog will appear. Only the options related to Java editing, including those for the text editor that the Java editor inherits, are shown.

Eclipse 3.1 improves its Ant support by including the latest version of Ant, and an Ant script debugger (see Figure 3), plus many editor enhancements. Another welcome addition: the ability to import a project from an Ant build file, and to export and generate a build file from an existing Eclipse project - you can synchronize your CLASSPATH and build.xml with a few clicks. The generated build.xml is simple and clean, with a provision for a build-user.xml that you can override and still keep the benefits of build.xml generation. This is another example of the community in action: the import/export feature is based on the contribution of Richard Höfter, author of the eclipse2ant plugin.

One thing to note is that all these new features don't come with a performance penalty. Eclipse 3.1 is a lot faster and uses far less memory for common operations than version 3.0. Don't believe me? Check out the performance tests results on the download page for any recent build. These improvements are not just for Windows; Mac and Linux users will notice even it even more due to the special attention paid to those platforms. The graphs don't tell the whole story, however. In normal day-to-day work I've found Eclipse 3.1 to be much snappier than any previous version.

With developers working with ever larger and more complex projects, their IDE needs to keep up. In order to experience and study problems with large workspaces, the Platform team created one consisting of 135 separate projects and 70,000 classes and other resources. Then, using various profiling tools they identified and corrected many bottlenecks, mainly in the area of memory usage and I/O. As a result, Eclipse 3.1 can handle bigger problems in less time than before. Launching the test workspace used to take close to two minutes, but in Eclipse 3.1 it now takes under 10 seconds.

Return of the Java Client
Java started out on the desktop, and now after a brief vacation on the server side, it's returning to the desktop with a vengeance. The Rich Client Platform (RCP) is helping to spark this renaissance. RCP is a subset of Eclipse that provides a framework for application development. It includes a widget toolkit (SWT), the plug-in loaders, the help system, and other components that you can use in your own programs.

By taking advantage of this free "client middleware," you can focus on your core competencies and reduce your time-to-market. Eclipse's corporate-friendly license (EPL) allows you to reuse the code in your own programs, whether or not they are open source. You can modify and redistribute the code, as long as you return any improvements to the community.

The biggest change for RCP in Eclipse 3.1 is a set of wizards and editors for creating, building, branding, and deploying RCP applications. To create an RCP application just create a plug-in project, click the checkbox that says "Create an RCP application", select a template, and then click Finish. With a few more clicks you can export the project to create a deployable application. No more trying to figure out plug-in dependencies, tweaking configuration files, and copying plug-ins by hand. All that's handled for you in the new release.

Branded applications are supported through the new Product Configuration editor. You can change the window titles, icons, splash screens, and other branded elements of your program quickly and easily. And with the RCP Delta Pack you can create deployable packages for all supported platforms at the same time (see Figure 4).

RCP applications can take advantage of dynamic plug-ins, that is, plug-ins that come and go at runtime. This provides flexibility to the RCP application delivery model. A large application can be deployed progressively as plug-ins are loaded or on demand when extra functionality is needed. This technology was originally designed for mobile phone provisioning as part of the OSGi Service Platform, and later implemented in Eclipse by the Equinox project team. Eclipse is an active participant in OSGi, and Eclipse 3.1 includes several features slated for version 4 of the OSGi standard.

In one proof-of-concept example shown at EclipseCon, the developers demonstrated a calculator program that started out with only a plus and minus button. Using Eclipse's update manager and dynamic plug-ins, the calculator then downloaded a new plug-in that added a multiply button. All this is done in the running JVM process without a restart.

More Stories By Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is the author of the Eclipse IDE Pocket Guide (to be published later this year by O'Reilly), co-author of Eclipse in Action, and editor of the articles section at eclipse.org. He writes about Eclipse and the Rich Client Platform at his Web site, www.eclipsepowered.org. Ed has programmed everything from multi-user servers to compilers to commercial video games since earning a BS in computer science from North Carolina State University. He is a principal systems developer at SAS, and lives near Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, with his wife, two kids, and a whole bunch of cats.

Comments (5) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Conneva Weblog 08/22/05 10:58:39 AM EDT

Trackback Added: What's new in Eclipse 3.1; I'm just getting around to reading Ed Burnette's great article summarizing the recent developments in Eclipse 3.1 (hat tip Ben Booth). In four short years since Eclipse exploded onto the scene, it has come to dominate the Java IDE landscape....

Serge Baccou's Blog 07/25/05 05:06:44 AM EDT

Trackback Added: What's new in Eclipse 3.1?;
In a previous note, I have announced the release of Eclipse 3.1. Meanwhile, I have read carefully the following page on Eclipse web site: Eclipse 3.1 - New and Noteworthy and I have installed Eclipse 3.1 on my PC. This is a summary of what is new in ...

Eclipse News Desk 07/19/05 11:19:39 AM EDT

SYS-CON Exclusive: What's New in Eclipse 3.1?
Since Eclipse's first release in 2001, it has become a popular environment for Java development. In the period between March 10 and May 11, 2005, users downloaded over 17,000 copies of one of the production SDK releases and over 3,500 copies of one of the stable (milestone) SDK builds on average every day. A vibrant eco-system of developers, plug-in providers, authors, and bloggers has grown up around it. Eclipse has also gained the backing of the key Java vendors including BEA, Borland, IBM, SAP, and Sybase. Developers like Eclipse because it provides a great platform for building Java applications, and companies like it because it unifies their software tools under one open source umbrella.

hoba 06/16/05 02:27:24 AM EDT

Great summary, thanks a lot!

David R. Heffelfinger 06/15/05 08:52:39 AM EDT

I was unaware of the new feature of importing/exporting Ant buildfiles. Unfortunately the article does not explain how to do it. Eclipse help wasn't much help either. After some experimenting, I figured it out. Details can be found in my blog.

David

@ThingsExpo Stories
Operational Hadoop and the Lambda Architecture for Streaming Data Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, representing a model of how to analyze rea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Open Data Centers (ODC), a carrier-neutral colocation provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Open Data Centers is a carrier-neutral data center operator in New Jersey and New York City offering alternative connectivity options for carriers, service providers and enterprise customers.
The IoT market is projected to be $1.9 trillion tidal wave that’s bigger than the combined market for smartphones, tablets and PCs. While IoT is widely discussed, what not being talked about are the monetization opportunities that are created from ubiquitous connectivity and the ensuing avalanche of data. While we cannot foresee every service that the IoT will enable, we should future-proof operations by preparing to monetize them with extremely agile systems.
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. Learn about IoT, Big Data and deployments processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CodeFutures, a leading supplier of database performance tools, has been named a “Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. CodeFutures is an independent software vendor focused on providing tools that deliver database performance tools that increase productivity during database development and increase database performance and scalability during production.
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
PubNub on Monday has announced that it is partnering with IBM to bring its sophisticated real-time data streaming and messaging capabilities to Bluemix, IBM’s cloud development platform. “Today’s app and connected devices require an always-on connection, but building a secure, scalable solution from the ground up is time consuming, resource intensive, and error-prone,” said Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub. “PubNub enables web, mobile and IoT developers building apps on IBM Bluemix to quickly add scalable realtime functionality with minimal effort and cost.”
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Intelligent Systems Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1994, Intelligent Systems Services Inc. is located near Washington, DC, with representatives and partners nationwide. ISS’s well-established track record is based on the continuous pursuit of excellence in designing, implementing and supporting nationwide clients’ mission-critical systems. ISS has completed many successful projects in Healthcare, Commercial, Manufacturing, ...
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.
With several hundred implementations of IoT-enabled solutions in the past 12 months alone, this session will focus on experience over the art of the possible. Many can only imagine the most advanced telematics platform ever deployed, supporting millions of customers, producing tens of thousands events or GBs per trip, and hundreds of TBs per month. With the ability to support a billion sensor events per second, over 30PB of warm data for analytics, and hundreds of PBs for an data analytics archive, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Kaskade, Vice President and General Manager, Big Data & Ana...
For years, we’ve relied too heavily on individual network functions or simplistic cloud controllers. However, they are no longer enough for today’s modern cloud data center. Businesses need a comprehensive platform architecture in order to deliver a complete networking suite for IoT environment based on OpenStack. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dhiraj Sehgal from PLUMgrid will discuss what a holistic networking solution should really entail, and how to build a complete platform that is scalable, secure, agile and automated.
We’re no longer looking to the future for the IoT wave. It’s no longer a distant dream but a reality that has arrived. It’s now time to make sure the industry is in alignment to meet the IoT growing pains – cooperate and collaborate as well as innovate. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine the key ingredients to IoT success and identify solutions to challenges the industry is facing. The deep industry expertise behind this presentation will provide attendees with a leading edge view of rapidly emerging IoT oppor...
In the consumer IoT, everything is new, and the IT world of bits and bytes holds sway. But industrial and commercial realms encompass operational technology (OT) that has been around for 25 or 50 years. This grittier, pre-IP, more hands-on world has much to gain from Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and principles. But adding sensors and wireless connectivity won’t work in environments that demand unwavering reliability and performance. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon, will discuss how as enterprise IT embraces other IoT-related technology trends, enterprises with i...
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...