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Eclipse spruces Mobile Tools for Java

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The Eclipse Foundation - the open source integrated development environment (IDE) project - wants more mobile platform developers to get involved in expanding Eclipse into mobile application development. With the launch today of a revamped version of the Mobile Tools for Java (MTJ), Eclipse said it wanted to establish a new development standard for mobile platforms and hoped to attract wider participation.

Currently, MTJ supports Java mobile platforms from Microsoft and Symbian used by Motorola and Nokia. But Christian Kurzke, MTJ project lead and a developer tools architect at Motorola, told The Register that he would be happy to see other mobile platforms such as Android and iPhone involved:

"The iPhone does not have Java support and although Android uses Java, it doesn't use the Java ME. But it would be nice to have someone from Google joining the Eclipse project and extending MTJ."

He went on to say there were no technical barriers:

"Technically speaking there is no reason why the MTJ framework should not be extended to other platforms. We use the standard universal emulator interface (UEI) to link the IDE to a software developers kit (SDK) so people can write new adaptors and add different SDKs for other platforms."

Kurzke said the new MTJ package brings together the existing EclipseME code under the umbrella of the MTJ framework which was put on hold in March 2007. EclipseME project lead Craig Setera has been enlisted to help with development of MTJ.

"Most mobile platform developers chose EclipseME because it was more pragmatic and I am pleased Greg - one of the key contributors - has joined us. The original MTJ was more a framework project, which people could use as a code base. By combining the two we have created a more flexible commercial product. So, we have the EclipseME code base and features from the original MTJ, such as ways to handle code fragmentation and pre-processing support. It also enables developers to compile code to multiple devices."

While Google might be persuaded to join Eclipse and contribute to MTJ, it seems highly unlikely that Apple will acquiesce. Despite moves by Sun and others to bring Java ME to the iPhone, Apple has rejected the idea and has actively excluded Java. ®

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