Unofficial Guide to Eclipse 3.1 (Part 3)

Tonight, I’ll wrap up my look into the plans for Eclipse 3.1.

I had planned at going sub-project by sub-project for all the sub-projects in the Eclipse Technology Project. However, I realized that this project is partly incubator for projects, much like the Apache Incubator. It is also partly Academic Research and Educational projects, most of which don’t have specific project plans. Complicating my mission further, most of the projects don’t have specific future plans in the Eclipse 3.1 timeframe. So I broadened out my search to all the other top-level projects. Here’s what I found out…

AspectJ and AJDT
These two projects go hand-in-hand. AspectJ the famous and probably most widely used extension to Java that lets you program with aspects. This was donated by Xerox Parc, who gave us all sorts of other wonderful innovations like Smalltalk, the mouse, the GUI, Ethernet, the laser printer, etc. Let’s all pause for a moment of reverence, shall we? :)
AJDT are the tools should probably be baked into Eclipse that let you use aspects seamlessly with the JDT (Java Development Tools.)

Latest releases:
AspectJ 1.2 (May 25,2004)
AJDT 1.1.12 (August 13, 2004)

What they’ll do around the Eclipse 3.1 release:
AspectJ plans to release a new version in 1Q 2005 that will support Java 5 fully.

AJDT plans to release 1.2, which looks focused on improving the quality w/unit tests, incremental compilation, and more seamless experience with the Java Editor.
Bonus: this release is being built using AspectJ with the AJDT. It’s great to see a project eating its own dog food.

XSD
This lets you work with the standard that knocked out the reigning king of defining documents, DTD. That standard is XML Schema. The full name for this project is “XML Schema Infoset Model”.
Latest release: 2.0.1 (September 17, 2004)
What they’ll do around the Eclipse 3.1 release: OK, there must some sort of inside joke here. EMF, SDO (Service Data Objects; which is included in the EMF project), and XSD, a sort of modeling triumvurate have synchronized sites and synchronized releases. However, they also do not seem to publish their future plans. I do see that there is a release 2.1 that is scheduled to come out in the future that has bug fixes and some improvements. I also wonder if XSD will move from the Technology Project to the Tools Project as it seems like has grown out of the incubation phase.
Tip: if you want to try one of these, go ahead and download the “ALL SDK” that has all three. These are building blocks for some existing projects and will likely become so for future ones.

Pollinate
This is the tool that helps you develop with Apache Beehive (kindly donated by BEA), a J2EE/web application framework that can make your J2EE development easier. Note that this leverages the popular Struts framework.
Latest release: 1.0 M1 (it’s in beta) (September 30, 2004)
What they’ll do around the Eclipse 3.1 release: Pollinate does have a plan up to 1Q 2005 and I expect them to try to put out a 1.0 around the 3.1 timeframe.

OMELET
I just love this name. :) And this logo

is based on a Grimm’s fairy tale. Gotta love that. :) Didn’t see any future plans. Oh… what does it do? It supervises transitions between meta-models, like a next-generation Ant.

Eclipse Test & Performance Platform Project
This is the successor to Hyades. This is going to help increase the quality of the applications that you develop, by helping you with testing, analyzing, profiling, etc.
Hyades is out, but this project was just formed in August 2004. Plans are still being formulated.

BIRT
No, this isn’t Ernie’s friend. This is the Business Intelligence and Reporting Project. Hooray! Perhaps this will develop into a modern, made-for-Eclipse version of Crystal Reports (probably the dominant reporting engine for developers in the 90s)? It will include an Eclipse and web-based reporting designer, as well as a reporting and charting engine which can be used in Eclipse or on the web.
Plans for this are still up in the air.

Web Tools
You can think of this as adding the prefix “Enterprise” to Eclipse. The reason is because it is slated to encompass not just tools to work with “Web Standards” like HTML, XML, and CSS, but also “J2EE Standards” like JSP, Servlets, and EJBs. Web Services tools are also in this mix. There will even be tools for working with databases.
The 1.0 plan shows a plan that goes until February 2005. This plan should be updated to extend into 2Q 2005. Note that this project didn’t really get going until September 2004. I’ll be blogging about this project more in the near future.

Well, that’s it for our look into Eclipse 3.1, at least for now. Go and look into the projects that interest you. Aside from what I’ve already told you, there will be lots of bug fixes, which is customary for any software project. I’ll supply URLs to the Eclipse Bugzilla later that’ll help you track those. I’ll be keeping my eye on Eclipse 3.1 and posting about it whenever I find anything new.