WTP – not just a tutorial, but a sprint

If RCP was the big surprise hit of last year’s EclipseCon and I think it was, then I predict that this year’s EclipseCon hit will be WTP. What is WTP? It’s the Web Tools Platform.

Yes, it’s so big and full featured, it is not just a Framework (the “F” in EMF and GEF), not just a Project, but a Platform. And so its fitting that I went to a 4 hour tutorial, another 3 hour sprint, and I still feel like I only scratched the surface. The tutorial was 20% presentation and 80% hands-on. The sprint was 1 hour of Sub-project and Component leads presenting and 2+ hours of BOF/chatting. Both were very well attended.

How big is WTP? Well, there’s 2 Sub-projects: Web Standard Tools (WST) and J2EE Standard Tools (JST). The focus is on implementing the tools for working with standards created by standards bodies like W3C and JCP.

The 2 sub-projects are made up of 6 Sub-systems, which I guess you could consider to be Sub-sub-projects:

1. RDB (which are Database Tools) – this includes setting up database connections, exploring databases visually, and executing arbitrary SQL statements.

2. Server Tools – aim is to make servers and their artifacts first-class citizens in Eclipse. Note that you can target specific run-times, so you don’t have to target lowest common denominator. This will eventually donate better Browser infrastructure as well as Proxy settings.

3. J2EE Tools – self explanatory. This features an artifact lifecycle.

4. Source Editing – features editors for “structured source” like HTML, XML, JSP, JavaScript, CSS, etc. These editors will behave like other Eclipse editors and will have refactoring, content assist, and debugging. There is support for embedded content, like CSS inside HTML. There is a framework for the “Source” page for multi-page editors like the XSD editor.

5. XML Tools – aimed mostly to assist in the development of Web Services. Features XSD and WSDL editing and validating. An interesting feature that is still being scoped is XSD refactoring.

6. Web Service Tools – Features Web Services Explorer + Runtime and Wizards. Something unique (may be donated to base platform?) is the Dynamic Wizard Framework that can be composed of Commands and can be run standalone that is meant to assist with the deployment of web services.

The 6 Sub-systems are actually composed of 8 JST components and 18 WST components, for a total of 26 components.

It also has a relatively large team of committers, roughly 14, with more to be added with the addition of BEA. Sybase is likely to join if the proposed Data Tools project is accepted, since it would overlap with the Database Tools subsystem. Note that one of the committers is Naci Dai, who created Lomboz.

Also, it seems that WTP is a bridge to the Apache community, since it uses Tomcat, Derby, Axis, Standard Taglibs, and Soap. Apache + Eclipse are the two biggest open source umbrella organizations and the increasing collaboration between the two seems to be fulfilling Michael Tiemann of RedHat’s prediction in last year’s keynote “The Eclipse Tipping Point“.

Here’s the roadmap. The highlight: WTP 1.0, coming out in late July, based on Eclipse 3.1.

I’d suggest downloading the latest milestone and then going through the tutorial to get a feel for what WTP is all about. I think WTP 1.0 will be a great step in helping the Enterprise Java community grow as well as make key standards more widely accessible.

2 Replies to “WTP – not just a tutorial, but a sprint”

  1. So, did you get WTP running on your Mac for the tutorial? I didn’t make it to this tutorial, but would have loved to. I did go to the sessions on WTP and it looks impressive. I’ve not been able to install on my Mac however.

  2. Yes, I did get it running, although there were quite a few third party JARs that needed to be copied in manually. The reason is because of licensing, since those JARs are not part of the Eclipse sourcebase and are not licensed under the EPL. However, I have been assured that the Eclipse Foundation lawyers (I actually ran into one at EclipseCon) are working to get these cleared and hopefully it will be an easy install experience when WTP 1.0 is released.

    Here are details of the third party JARs for WTP..

    Also make sure that you install the exact prerequisites of EMF-XSD-SDO, GEF, and JEM.

    Let me know if you can need more help with installing WTP on the Mac.

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