Marwane El Kharbili

Apr 20, 2008

Microsoft, Sun & Eclipse

What do these three have to do with another? Until now, not much. But this has now changed.

Let's start with sun. Sun always was reluctant to any collaboration with the Eclipse project. Eclipse is a project started by IBM, big concurrent of Sun, and turned open-source afterwards. Sun (creators of Java, of course) have their own open source Java IDE, named NetBeans, which has always been pushed forward by Sun and also has a substantially strong community. But now Eclipse is way more than just an IDE for Java. The 1 million members strong community turned the completely modular architecture of Eclipse (totallyPlug-In based) into a technological base for a big number of languages and technologies. And Eclipse keeps growing. At the EclipseCon 2008 (23-26 of March 2008 in Santa Clara, California), Eclipse 4 was announced for in 2 years. So what has now changed? Well, Sun made a move towards Eclipse, by choosing EclipseLink (the Eclipse Persistence Services Project) as the reference implementation for the Java Persistence API 2.0 specification. EclipseLink is an Open Source implementation (have a look at the project's blog) of the TopLink infrastructure (a project by Ocracle). So this is one of its kind for Sun.

Microsoft on the other way, have made another kind of approach. This also has indirectly something to do with Eclipse. Microsoft decided to collaborate with the Eclipse foundation and set up a team of engineers to work on interoperability between the SWT (Standard Widget Toolkit, Eclipse's pendant of SWING, used in Eclipse to implement GUIs) and the WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation, previously known under codename Avalon ), Microsoft's graphical Library shipped with Vista. Another team is also going to work on the Eclipse Hibbins project. Additionally, Sam Ramji (Strategy Director for technology platforms at Microsoft) announced a possible Integration of Eclipse to Silverlight (Microsoft's new web presentation platform).

No need to say there is some movement around Eclipse by big players. What this means? Where it leads to? Too soon to say it. Only one thing is for sure, One eye kept on strategic movements towards Eclipse by big players is certainly no lost time. You may not want to miss up on some synergy that could substantially add some new business models to your company. The least I can say is that Eclipse is on moving in the right direction, at the basis of its concept from the start: Interoperate with whomever you can, it'll only make more things possible.

Marwane El Kharbili.

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