Eclipse Gaining Momentum

UPDATE: The software tools consortium draws the curtain on three new projects and adds 13 member companies.


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Posted December 16, 2002

Clint Boulton

With the buzz of software tools for developers hot theses days following IBM's bid to acquire Rational Software, the Eclipse Consortium Monday unveiled three new projects and added thirteen new member companies.

The first project centers on creating tools for the COBOL Language and is funded in part by a donation from Fujitsu. Dating back some 35 years, COBOL, or Common Business Oriented Language, was the first widely-used high-level programming language for business applications.

The second undertaking is the Eclipse Modeling Framework. Based upon OMG's Model Driven Architecture, with participation from IBM, Rational, and Togethersoft plug-in extensions, this endeavor involves modeling operation and managing metadata .

Lastly, Michael Norman, president and CEO of Scapa Technologies, is leading his team on Project Hyades (pronounced like "hiatus"), a new framework and reusable technology supporting deployment of Automated Software test and trace tools to ensure the applications work properly.

Hyades works toward and "I*E", or integrated "Everything" environment that take tools integration beyond the confines of a traditional IDE to full lifecycle support for projects. Hyades will not replicate offerings from other test and trace domains.

With a shared framework of open integration technology, Hyades supports better tool interoperability and helps developers avoid vendor lock-in, stimulating enhanced competition. Hyades does not specify a testing methodology to allow tools to cover a range of Automated Software Quality assurance processes from static code analysis through automated functional testing and deployment performance testing.

Hyades will implement an OMG defined UML testing profile in which Test Case, Test Trace, Test Objective and Verification artifacts are maintained. Test objectives related to performance and scalability can be evaluated for a range of real world deployment environments, including alternate mixes of server and network interconnection technologies.

Eclipse, which competes with the Microsoft Developer's Network and Sun's NetBeans group for developer mindshare, recently celebrated its one year anniversary of its first project, according to Eclipse communications manager Marc Erickson.

The group began with just a handful of members led by IBM in November 2001, but with the addition of 13 new members to the Eclipse Board of Stewards, Erickson said Eclipse is building momentum. The open-source group, which prides itself on offering royalty-free technology and a Java-based platform for tools integration, has logged 2.5 million download requests.

The thirteen new members include: AltoWeb, Catalyst Systems, Flashline, Hewlett Packard, ETRI (the Korean information technology research institute), MKS Software, Oracle, Parasoft, SAP, SlickEdit, TeamStudio, Timesys and OMG, the Object Management Group.

For all of its expansion glory, Erickson said Eclipse is not without a bid of negative attention despite its ability to garner involvement from a number of developers. Responding to whisperings about just how much IBM influences the Eclipse program, told internetnews.com IBM doesn't hold any more sway over Eclipse than any other member company.

"IBM gets one vote -- just like the rest of the members," Erickson said.

Norman, of Scapa Technologies, said although members sometimes compete over certain infrastructure aspects of Eclipse projects, they recognize the value of a "good place to build tools," irrespective of what platform is being used.

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