Why Sun should join forces with the Eclipse Foundation

The Butler Group recently wrote an opinion article titled: Sun and Eclipse – A Marriage Made in Heaven. I think they make a good case as to why Sun should join forces with the Eclipse Foundation. They note that:

The Eclipse project is a runaway success, and this is now undisputed.

They also argue that developers now live in a polarized world, one centered around Eclipse and the other around Visual Studio. And that Sun has to make a choice. Of course, since Sun is definitely not a Microsoft shop, the choice is quite obvious.

I think their proposal of how to merge NetBeans with Eclipse is straightforward, though probably still controversial:

The logical step forward is for Sun to offer the option of a NetBeans plug-in to Eclipse, giving Java developers access to the excellent tools in NetBeans – the winner of the 2005 Open Source Tool of the Year, in Developer.com’s Product of the Year awards.

I think the big items in the proposed NetBeans plug-in would be the things that Developer.com cited, when they gave out the aforementioned award:

In addition to facilitating development of traditional GUI-based Java applications via a WYSIWYG designer, the NetBeans IDE supports development of J2ME wireless applications, Web applications, and Web Services.

These features would definitely overlap with existing Eclipse projects, but we should be able to figure out how to get the best of both worlds in the Java Community.

6 Replies to “Why Sun should join forces with the Eclipse Foundation”

  1. Following the word jokes of this article I can really say that it is not so ‘enlightening’ about why Sun should make such a choice ;)
    What are the features that made NetBeans win this prize that Eclipse lacks?
    Is the difference between the two really a matter of features or something that lies elsewhere?
    Hype is always a big selling point, and for now it’s clear that announcing any link with Eclipse buys you press releases anywhere for free, but for developers having strong competition between more than one product is always a good thing, as the huge step forward made by NetBeans from 3.x to 4.x clearly shows.
    A wiser move for all could be to finally support the JSR about a common IDE plugin framework, at least where possible, with the purpose of minimizing the development effort in adding a certain functionality to these tools.

  2. Let’s assume that Sun does join Eclipse and builds a NetBeans plug-in. There will still be competition.

    Just in the Java arena, JetBrains is continuing to innovate with IntelliJ IDEA. Also, Oracle has decided to continue on with their own framework that supports their database/app server well with JDeveloper.

    Even if those become niche players (which you could argue they are, with IDEA being a high-end solution and JDeveloper for Oracle shops), there is still competition from the other gorilla in the arena: Visual Studio.

    What would be even better for developers and ISVs is to have some sort of W3C recommendation for IDE extensions which would allow ISVs to build a plug-in for both Eclipse and Visual Studio.

  3. For now it is just a joke :D
    We could jolt a simple plugin with an action that launches NetBeans in a snap.
    Now despite it being a joke, why not be serious about it?
    There are plenty of good stuffs in NetBeans.
    Would you be intesrted in giving a hand?
    But hey that would not be high priority for me, not a big itch to scratch ;-)

    As a starting point there is a series of two articles that highlight some of the pains and differences with writing cross ide plugins, which provide good insights:

    http://www.devx.com/opensource/Article/21904/1954?pf=true
    http://www.devx.com/opensource/Article/26612/1954?pf=true

    Thsoe are based on Eclipse 3.0 and NetBeans 3.6but probbaly can be applied without much pain to Eclipse 3.1 and NetBeans 4.x.

    You got my email.
    If you really really believe that is worth it, let’s talk.

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