Cool Projects, Emerging Trends

As the Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation I get to review the project proposals for each and every new project joining Eclipse. As part of that I get to interact with the new developers joining our community. It’s one of the favorite parts of my job.

2013 has seen a lot of new projects join Eclipse. In this article I am going to highlight a few of them that I think are particularly interesting. Then I will close off by talking about a few of the trends that I see emerging within the Eclipse community.

Obviously I cannot cover every new project at Eclipse, and I am sure that I will be accidentally omitting many very cool projects. Use this article as a place to start learning more about what’s going on at Eclipse, not as a definitive list.

Some Cool Projects

Sirius. The Eclipse community has been very active in modeling for a long time. In the past couple of years, the emergence of modeling tools for creating domain-specific language has been a hot topic. The Xtext project has been at the forefront of textual DSL interest and adoption. The new Sirius project is a graphical analog to Xtext in that it allows you to create visual DSLs, and tools for them.

Vert.x. Eclipse has had an active runtime community for years, but with the exception of Jetty is has been almost entirely focused on Java and OSGi. Vert.x is a concurrent, polyglot application server based on the Java vitrual machine. It is one of the most watched Java projects on GitHub. In addition to being a very cool project in its own right, Vert.x was also the first project hosted by the Eclipse Foundation on GitHub.

e(fx)clipse. The e(fx)clipse project provides the tooling and runtime needed to use JavaFX from within Eclipse. Fundamentally, it provides a way to modernize the UI of Eclipse RCP desktop applications. It provides all of the JDT, PDE, CSS, e4, etc. support required to get JavaFX working with Eclipse for both development and deployment.

The Internet of Things

So I will admit it, I have a Raspberry Pi addiction. It all started with Benjamin Cabé’s greenhouse demo for the Eclipse M2M project that I first saw at FOSDEM 2012. After giving the demo numerous times at that conference, I decided that I really wanted to be able to run the demo myself. So I bought a Raspberry Pi, an Arduino Uno, and the full set of Seeedstudio sensors needed for the demo. And then with lots of help from Benjamin I was able to re-create his demo, to the point where I think I can do it justice. Of course, that got me hooked on playing with these wonderful little devices - to the point where I now own six Raspberry Pi’s, three Arduinos, and a BeagleBone Black. So the first group of cool projects is based on my personal interests in playing with these devices.

Kura. Based on Java and OSGi, Kura provides a container for M2M applications running in service gateways, as well as integrated development tools supporting the ability to run M2M applications in an emulated environment within the Eclipse IDE, deploy them on a target gateway, and finally remotely provision the applications to Kura-enabled devices on the field.I like Kura because it has the feel of a very mature codebase, with a lot of features for management, monitoring and provisioning real systems.

Smart Home. Also based on Java and OSGi, this project provides a platform to allow the integration of different systems, protocols or standards and that provide a uniform way of user interaction and higher level services for home automation. Smart Home has a cool visual builder for being able to integrate products from different vendors and using different home automation protocols into a single system. It basically provides you with all the tools you need to build your own residential gateway to manage your personal intranet of things.

Mosquitto. The Mosquitto project provides a small server implementation of the MQTT and MQTT-SN protocols. It is the server side of Paho’s client-side implementations of MQTT. I think Mosquitto is cool mostly because I think it’s great to see Eclipse projects implementing the protocols which are going to provide the basic plumbing for the Internet of Things. Besides, it runs on my Raspberry Pi, and turns it into a hub for my devices to talk to one another.


There are a couple of trends that emerge from 2013.

First, the message that Eclipse is open to all programming languages and platforms is getting out there. We had numerous projects come to Eclipse in 2013 that were well outside our traditional Java, OSGi and tooling comfort zones.

Second, Eclipse is becoming the open source center of gravity for the Internet of Things. We had ten (10 !) new IoT / M2M projects join the Eclipse community in 2013. Many of them were core technologies like protocols (CoAP, LWM2M joining our MQTT implementations), servers and frameworks (Mosquitto, Ponte, Krikkit) and device gateway platforms (Kura, OM2M). There is a wealth of technology joining our open community, and given how important this emerging domain is, it is great to see.

And finally, the Eclipse community is reinventing itself as a leaner, faster open source community. We have been working hard to lower the barriers to contribution to all Eclipse projects, and to enable Eclipse projects to leverage popular tools like GitHub. Implementing Contributor License Agreements, the Common Build Infrastructure, Git, Gerritt, Hudson Instance Per Project (HIPP) are part of this. It has never been a better time to bring an open source project to the Eclipse community.

About the Authors

mike milinkovich

Mike Milinkovich
Eclipse Foundation