Beehive pollinates Eclipse

A happy cross-fertilisation for developers

Java's success is based on the write-once, run-anywhere promise. But as the number of development environments increased the view for developers was not as rosy. The development user interface varied by vendor, as did the application development frameworks, which were used to develop Java more rapidly and consistently. This meant that developers could not move easily from one environment to another, as they needed to learn a new user interface and worse a new set of frameworks and controls. Even worse, the frameworks might not run on all platforms.

The obvious competitor to Java is Microsoft .NET. which provides a single development experience and runs on a multitude of Microsoft platforms. Thus it is attractive to the developer even if it is not as flexible in its deployment.

Developers often choose the development and therefore the runtime environments - or at least are key influencers in that decision. The consistency of the development environment increases the portability of the developer and that has an influence on their choice of platform.

Both IBM and BEA understand this argument, and have offered technology to the open source community that will make the developer environment more consistent. IBM handed over Eclipse, a platform for tools integration. BEA handed over Beehive, an application framework, to Apache.

These two threads were brought together with the announcement that:

SAN FRANCISCO, JAVAONE 2004 CONFERENCE-June 28, 2004-The Eclipse Foundation, a community committed to the implementation of a universal platform for tools integration, along with Instantiations, Inc., a leading provider of advanced Java development solutions, and BEA Systems (NASDAQ: BEAS), the world's leading application infrastructure software company, today announced the creation of 'Pollinate'. Pollinate is a new open-source incubator project focused on creating an Eclipse-based development environment and toolset to be named 'Eclipse Pollinate.' Eclipse Pollinate, which will be designed to integrate with Apache Beehive, the industry's first easy-to-use, cross-container, open-source application framework for building service-oriented architectures (SOAs) and enterprise Java applications, is being developed to help enable developers to more easily develop and deploy service-based and J2EE-based applications.

This is a major step in keeping the Java developers happy. It should make it more likely that they will recommend a Java environment. The application development pie is increasing in size - Pollinate will ensure that Java increases in line with the total pie and should enable Java to increase its share. This increase in the Java market is why BEA is so firmly behind, you could say leading from the back, this initiative.

I believe this is the first step in bringing Beehive and Eclipse even closer together and as the initiative matures I would expect the major players, BEA, IBM, Sun and others to take further steps to line up. For example, neither IBM nor Sun has openly embraced Beehive, and BEA has not re-factored its IDE on Eclipse. Moves of these sorts are affected by technology requirements and commercial benefits and each player will choose the most opportune moment to make the move. I would expect to see further moves from all parties in the next twelve months.


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