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[eclipse-dev] On Eclipse SDK 3.x/4.x in Indigo and beyond.

(cross posting for maximum visibility...)

The Eclipse 4.1 SDK is substantially ready. We on the Platform team have been using it for months and are generally satisfied with its usability, performance and robustness, and the overall rate of convergence. By the time 4.1 ships, we expect that the Eclipse community will be able to use it for development without impacting their productivity. We expect that most plug-ins will run correctly on top of it.

Eclipse 4.1 offers a number of benefits including a new presentation layer which is significantly more flexible and capable than the 3.x presentation. Our team has begun to explore and exploit these capabilities to provide real benefits for the day-to-day workflows of Eclipse users in the 4.1 SDK release in June 2011. This work will continue in 4.2 and beyond.

Despite the many advancements and improvements present in 4.1, we recognize that our backward compatibility is still not 100% [1], and that 4.1 is not yet a full blown replacement for 3.7. As such, we recommend that, for Indigo, Eclipse SDK 3.7 be considered the primary platform for the release train and all EPP packages. We do however, strongly encourage the community at large to begin using the 4.1 SDK for their general development once it becomes available, and to test their components on top of 4.1.

Looking forward, the Eclipse Project team will be focused primarily on the 4.2 release for June 2012, where we expect to be spending most of our investment (including new feature work and innovation). Eclipse 3.x is widely used, and there will continue to be 3.x releases as long as they are valuable to our consumers. The community that is willing and able to support the work required will ultimately define the contents of these releases. For example, new features in the 2012 release may indeed appear in the 3.8 stream if there is sufficient interest and support. Either way, Eclipse continues to be the premiere platform for desktop application development and we look forward to continuing to support you.

[1] See for more discussion of what to expect from 4.1

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