Eclipse sings open-web tune: No framework, no problem
Collaborate not isolate
"For large part, the value proposition for Orion is to use it as an integrated platform for existing and future tools," Milinkovich said. "Today... there's no single platform that provides developers with the ability to unify them into a single workflow or user experience - that's the gap Orion is trying to fill.
"If you've got an exiting web based tool you can integrate it with Orion very simply - all you need is a URL to write glue code so it appears on the Orion toolbar immediately."
So why is Eclipse embracing web development and leaving the enterprise and the framework that made it both feared and loved in enterprise circles behind?
According to Milinkovich, it's about bringing tools for the open web together.
This means the data cannot be easily withdrawn, say by a user looking to move on from their service, nor can it be accessed by rival service providers. That data might be somebody's personal contact details, photos they've uploaded, status updates or it might just be music files.
Milinkovich said he doesn't see any contraction in building the web using APIs and HTML5 - you can support HTML5 and still think APIs are important. "But I think standard APIs are going to be an important part because it's been an important part of every wave of technology. Without interoperability that well known APIs provide, you don't have an industry platform, you don't have a foundation that the industry can grow on," he said.
Why is Eclipse jumping into the free-web debate now?
Just like Eclipse before it, Orion was kick-started by a donation of code by IBM - still the Foundation's biggest single backer after all these years in terms of engineers on projects.
Time will tell whether Eclipse can move outside of IBM's shadow on the open web.
Also, whether the philosophy of Orion can attract a development community that partly differentiates itself against the kind of place where Eclipse is coming from - the enterprise, server-side Java and C++ development.
While Orion is not the same Eclipse technology, which has grown spaghetti like over the last decade, Milinkovich feels Eclipse has much to offer in building a community and ecosystem.