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[eclipse-dev] Pivot/Eclipse

Hi all,

I recently joined the Eclipse developer list and would like to introduce myself. I am one of the founders of Apache Pivot, an open-source platform for building RIAs in Java:

Paraphrasing our web site, Pivot "combines the enhanced productivity and usability features of a modern RIA toolkit with the robustness of the industry-standard Java platform...[It] includes features that make building modern GUI applications much easier, including declarative UI, data binding, effects and transitions, and web services integration." 

We created Pivot for two primary reasons:

- To provide a viable option for developers who want to build rich Internet applications in Java (or any other JVM-compatible language). Of the three major RIA platforms (Flex, Silverlight, and JavaFX), none support the Java programming language or any of the popular JVM scripting languages such as Groovy or Scala: Flex applications are written in ActionScript, Silverlight applications are built using .NET, and JavaFX applications are built with JavaFX Script. Pivot allows Java developers to build RIAs using technologies and APIs they already know.

- To provide a truly open alternative for RIA developers. While they may be open source to varying degrees, Flex, Silverlight, and JavaFX are still proprietary platforms that are driven by corporate objectives. Since its inception, Pivot was envisioned as an open-source project and is driven entirely by the software development community.

Like Swing and JavaFX, Pivot rendering is currently based on Java2D. We had originally wanted to use SWT because we believe it is a superior alternative to AWT. However, we ultimately went with Java2D because it was not possible to deploy SWT apps in a browser, one of our primary use cases. 

Browser deployment aside, there are numerous advantages to using SWT over Java2D:

- It would allow Pivot developers to reach more users by building Eclipse plugins or RCP applications using Pivot.

- It would make it considerably easier to build a Pivot GUI builder in Eclipse, a much-requested feature (we already build the platform itself in Eclipse).

Pivot is architected in such a way that the impact of migrating to SWT would be minimal to most applications. However, the level of effort to port Pivot's "skins" to SWT would be non-trivial, so this is not something we would look to undertake without sufficient interest from the Eclipse community. The primary hurdle is the lack of an "SWT plugin" that would allow SWT applications to run in a web browser (similar to an applet). I understand that there are some technical challenges around providing such a plugin, but they can almost certainly be overcome.

So, my question to you is - might there be any interest in the Eclipse community for building Eclipse plugins or RCP apps using Pivot? Further, is there sufficient interest in an "SWT plugin" to justify development of such a feature?

I believe that a combination of Pivot and SWT could be very compelling, and I would very much like to hear your thoughts if you would be willing to share them.

Thanks for your consideration. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Greg Brown
Apache Pivot

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