Eclipse themes are described in one of two categories.
While Eclipse has been very successful with Java developers on Windows systems, we endeavour to provide platform support for additional existing and upcoming platforms.
Approximately 80% of Eclipse download requests are for the Windows OS. Windows 7 will be important as both a platform used by developers, as well as one to which the resultant applications and/or products will be deployed.
Given Eclipse's ongoing use in the development of enterprise software, support for use of the Eclipse platform is desirable across the popular Windows OS variants.
Linux continues to grow in market share as a platform for projects at all levels. We need to offer strong support for Linux on two dimensions:
Mac OS X is used in many development, open source and end user environments and is a very active community. Throughout recent years there has been a stable percentage of Mac platform downloads of Eclipse packages of about 5% of downloads. Eclipse needs to continue to provide some level of support for users of this platform.
Eclipse endeavors to support next generations of the Java platform in a timely manner. The first stage of support is that end users can build applications that target the latest JDK versions. The next stage of support is that projects themselves are able to take advantage of the latest JDK changes.
RCP adoption has been strong by the ecosystem. The goal is for projects to support and use the Eclipse RCP as much as possible.
Aside from general use of RCP, there are two additional dimensions to this theme.
The Equinox project is an example of the focus on the OSGi component model within Eclipse. The Ecosystem requires Additional PDE enhancements to facilitate developing and deploying RCP-based applications, and for OSGi bundle manifest tooling.
Flex, Ajax and other "Web 2.0" technology (see Wikipedia discussion on Web 2.0) has enabled the development of a new generation of web sites that provide a rich and user-friendly experience in a wide variety of applications. While the initial adopters of this technology have been social web sites, it's adoption is increasingly seen in business applications such as CRM systems.
As developers shift from the development of traditional web sites to Web 2.0-style sites, the role of Eclipse as a development framework for these applications must be considered. 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.
This theme describes additions to Eclipse to provide standardization and extensibility to enable embedded tools providers, real-time operating system providers, semiconductor vendors, and hardware developers to create embedded-specific capabilities on top of standard Eclipse projects such as the Platform, JDT, eRCP, CDT, and TPTP. These capabilities could include the following.
The Eclipse components need to not only provide features that advanced users demand, but also be something that users find simple to use. The goal of this theme is to ensure that Eclipse-based products are simple to use for users with widely-varying backgrounds and skill sets performing a variety of tasks. Examples include:
For example, if a user interface wizard provides a short path to performing a task, make sure that usability studies have identified the most common task performed by the target users.
All projects should consider improved packaging, installation and "out-of-the-box" experience to be a critical objective.
Through efforts such as the Eclipse Packaging Project, Eclipse should continue to expand out-of-the-box role-based offerings.
Every project has the capability to damage the reputation and brand of Eclipse if it is claimed to be "release" quality, but clearly is not. Quality refers not only to the reliable execution of typical use cases, but also to documentation, feature completeness, etc. Moreover, when new functionality or architecture replaces old between versions, it is important that features be maintained (or a plan for doing so made available) to not give the appearance of eliminating features.
Existing and new Eclipse projects need to consider key technology trends in the market to ensure that the Eclipse platform continues to retain it's leadership as the framework and tool of choice for developers.
More and more applications are being built to handle bursts of high volume traffic and data by making use of "cloud computing" architectures. By deploying to the "cloud", application developers are more frequently building applications to run on servers where they have little control or knowledge of the underlying technology infrastructure. In many cases this also means relying on non traditional data formats, planning for redundency and fail-over and keeping interactions low-state.
Having tools and projects that support a tools ecosystem for Cloud Computing application developers would be an enormous benefit to Eclipse.
Due to power constraints, there is a trend towards multiple cores on a CPU instead of merely increasing the CPU frequency. Eclipse could enable developers to write multi-threaded programs to take advantage of the increasing miltiple cores. Moreover, Eclipse itself could be optimized where possible for running on multiple cores.
Diverse application software such as payroll, datawarehousing, and reporting now routinely manipulate large amounts of data that exceed 2GB. Using 64-bit CPUs enables these applications to manipulate large data in memory rather than having to write and read intermediate results to much slower disks.
The availability of 64-bit CPUs and matching 64-bit versions of supported OSs is growing, not only on the server but on the desktop. As these 64-bit environments become more popular and Eclipse technology-based server applications become more prevalent, Eclipse could be optimized to run within these environments and aide developers who building on, and/or targeting to, 64-bit solutions.
This refers to the need for Eclipse to deal with development and deployment on a larger and more complex scale. Increasing complexities arise from:
Large organisations have a need to support large numbers of users have and maintain similar Eclipse set-ups. This could involve various aspects of the system, eg. what Eclipse components are installed, what preferences and other values are set etc. On one level this could be a convenience thing so that this would enable central management to help developer workstations be up-to-date, on a different level some organizations might want a policy of strict control where the maintenance of the environment is also about enforcing a development policy and toolset, this would need more work in that it would require Eclipse internal policy management.
Ease of installation, deployment, of pre-canned packages (or products) while allowing easy discovery and mixing-in of additional functionality. This includes not only traditional Eclipse features and plugins but could also include the ability to pick from and install various runtimes, servers, libraries, or databases. I also could include not only the initial installation by one end-user, but could also include maintenance, remote installation or management of several installations, etc.
Features to enable a developer to get started as part of a (new or existing) team. This could include:
Example Story: Here the ultimate goal could be that once a "team manager" has been told the IP address of a new member's PC, he would have 10 minutes later a fully configured Eclipse workstation with all the project's Eclipse project and all related settings on his/her machine.
Within the Eclipse community, many development projects are defining new development platforms on top of other Eclipse projects. Concrete examples include the Business Intelligence Reporting Tools, the Data Tools, and the Device Software Development Platform projects. It is recognized, however, that some function is not strictly required by the underlying projects but are important to enable other platforms to succeed. This theme also includes effort to assure platform integrity.
Some identified key requirements for this theme are:
The original vision of Eclipse was to accelerate the creation of IDEs. There is a lot of work to do to make it simpler to create language-specific IDEs. Our vision is to:
Every project could support and make a statement on their accessibility compliance. In the U.S., this means Section 508 compliance; in the European Union, this is the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Every project could support both internationalization and localization:
Where possible, projects should use an open and transparent process to create, maintain and deliver language packs translated into multiple languages in a timely manner. The primary languages to consider are: English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Spanish.
Upward compatibility is a critical aspect of developer satisfaction and community growth. Developers need to be able to adopt the latest release of Eclipse technology without reworking their applications. Extensive rework incurred during a migration will lead to developer frustration and the possibility that they will evaluate and adopt other tools. Smooth upward migration is therefore a core Theme that all projects must consider.
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