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Eclipse bets on Vista rivalry and cloud wave

Roadmap to "retain" Web 2.0 crowd

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The Eclipse Foundation has published a roadmap putting a strong emphasis on Web 2.0, cloud computing, and rivalry with Windows — particularly Vista.

New projects must be consistent with the roadmap, Eclipse said. "This does not mean that every new project must be explicitly envisaged by the roadmap," it said, but "It does mean that new projects cannot be inconsistent with the stated directions of Eclipse."

The roadmap, which is a work in progress, discusses the group's entire smorgasbord of activities in generally encouraging tones. The sharpest language, though, is used to endorse projects that expand efforts in rich internet applications (RIAs) and on the client versus Microsoft.

The latter is an attempt to tempt its large base of developers building on PCs away from migrating their applications to Windows Vista.

Eclipse is also eager to spin-up projects and build out an ecosystem of tools that serve cloud computing. "Having tools and projects that support a tools ecosystem for cloud computing application developers would be an enormous benefit to Eclipse," Eclipse said in its list of themes and priorities.

Tools and projects should help developers tackle things such as building software for environments where there's little control over the underlying server infrastructure and where they rely on "non-traditional" data formats or use low-state interactions.

The group is keen to harness enthusiasm for Web 2.0 with its work on AJAX, JavaScript, and web services via the Web Tools Platform Project.

The role of Eclipse as a development framework for developers moving from "traditional" to Web 2.0 applications "must be considered" the group said. "In order to retain these developers, the Eclipse platform could provide strong support for developing applications that leverage Web 2.0 technologies such as Flex, AJAX and web services APIs."

On the client side, Eclipse is eager to continue its work on Windows. Developers on Windows comprised 85 per cent of Eclipse downloads, the group said. The goals are for Eclipse projects to use its Rich Client Platform (RCP), a project that uses open tools to build components that can be used on any client "as much as possible."

Eclipse is particularly keen to have Windows developers build their legacy Windows applications using the Eclipse Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT), instead of simply porting to Windows Vista. SWT potentially lets applications run on Linux, Mac OS X, and different versions of Windows. Eclipse noted downloads to those running Mac OS X has doubled this year to six per cent compared to 2007.

"[Vista] presents an opportunity for organizations who will take the opportunity to migrate to the more ubiquitous and portable Eclipse platform," the group said. "In order to leverage the opportunity as much as Vista, it is essential that relevant Eclipse projects support and leverage Vista." ®

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