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Silverlight Devs on Eclipse Move Forward

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It’s nearly D-day (for ‘done’) for developers who want to write Microsoft Silverlight applications but want to pursue development using Eclipse.

A senior Microsoft executive announced on his blog Friday evening that an open source project that the company funded last year is about to bear fruit.

Now the firm doing the development, Soyatec, is readying a final release of the plug-in, which is named Eclipse4SL, after recently shipping a “release candidate” for the plug-in.

“Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) funded a project by Soyatec, a France-based IT solutions provider and Eclipse Foundation member, to develop an open source plug-in called Eclipse4SL which enables advanced Silverlight development capabilities in the Eclipse IDE,” S. Somasegar, senior vice president of Microsoft’s Developer Division, said in his post.

“With Eclipse4SL installed, you can now build Silverlight applications in Eclipse,” Somasegar said.

“Soyatec is releasing Eclipse4SL under the Eclipse Public License Version 1.0 on SourceForge, and has submitted it to the Eclipse Foundationas an open Eclipse project,” the post continued.

The plug-in works within the Eclipse Integrated Development Environment (IDE), which, along with Visual Studio is one of the two most popular IDEs. It also works with the Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP). Its aim is to improve interoperability between Silverlight and existing Java code in Web sites and Web services.

Microsoft introduced its Silverlight streaming media technology two years ago, primarily, as a competitor to Adobe’s Flash technology. Silverlight is currently in version 2.0, and Microsoft has recruited help from other companies, notably Novell, which developed a Linux versionof the technology called Moonlight.

Silverlight’s ups and downs

Still, Silverlight has had ups and downs in its short career so far. Microsoft got plenty of exposure using Silverlight to stream both the Democratic National Convention and the Beijing Summer Olympics. However, it also has had losses to its competition. For instance, Major League Baseballcut Silverlight from the roster after the end of the season last fall – trading Microsoft for Adobe.

Microsoft announced the investment in Eclipse4SL last October. The current roadmap for the Eclipse tool on Soyatec’s site says the target date for final release is this spring.

This article was first published on

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