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Refined but bloated

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Older projects will also see new features both to improve usability and to bring them into line with Eclipse 3.4.

Version 2.3 of Business Intelligence Reporting Tools (BIRT) gets improved support for JavaScript and a bunch of usability improvements such as easier formatting, crosstab enhancements and prototype integration of DTP graphical query.

Version 5.0 of C/C++ Development Tools (CDT) benefits from a bunch of usability improvements and a new refactoring engine.

The latest version of the Dynamic Languages Tool Kit (DLTK), which first appeared in last year's Europa release, includes support for Ruby and Tcl - but Python and JavaScript users will have to wait for later releases.

Various components of the Device Software Developer Platform (DSDP) have been upgraded, with changes including a first glimpse of the DSDP Native Application Builder (NAB) and support for embedded applications development.

The Graphical Editing Framework (GEF) release 3.4 gets a redesigned user interface and support for the Eclipse Visualization Toolkit.

Upgrades to Eclipse's Modeling Development Tools (MDT), meanwhile, are aimed at improving usability. The Ganymede release includes a range of upgrades for the Test and Performance Tools Platform (TPTP) with support for Java 1.6 and for parallel test suite execution.

Finally, version 3.0 of the Web Tools Platform (WTP) boosts Eclipse's support for Java and JavaScript with a lengthy list of new options to support Java Enterprise Edition (JEE) and Enterprise Java Beans (EJB).

All eyes on 2010

As you can see, there's something for everyone here. Eclipse is generally helping individuals and ISVs that rely on multiple projects for their work, by providing a co-ordinated release that irons out bugs and ensures timely - rather than staggered - releases. That's a good thing.

We can probably look forward to next summer's version update adding yet more projects to the mix. All eyes, though, will be on 2010 with version 4.0, which will see how far Eclipse is willing to go in either trimming things back, cleaning up or going modular. In the meantime, you'll have to content yourself with general usability improvements but a growing code base.®

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