Eclipse Web Tools Platform Moves Forward with New Release
January 3, 2006 Dan Burger
Companies with J2EE and Web application aspirations owe more than a passing glimpse to the Eclipse Web Tools Platform (WTP) 1.0 release that became generally available in mid-December. For the Eclipse Foundation, an open source community committed to implementation of a universal development platform, this becomes an important stepping-stone along the way to providing a universal development platform for tools integration. Already WTP has been adopted by the leading J2EE suppliers, including IBM, BEA Systems, Borland, JBoss, and ObjectWeb. This full-version release has solidified the platform API for third-party extension and provides documentation improvements to the previous maintenance release.
“Working together with the diverse member companies in the project and the community has helped immensely to produce these platform APIs, which can help to better enable other commercial vendors to leverage WTP tools for their products,” says Tim Wagner, the PMC Lead of the Web Tools Project from BEA Systems.
Sources at the Eclipse Foundation describe this release as focusing on two of the three major goals outlined in the WTP roadmap. The two notable achievements include defining the WTP API, and keeping current with the underlying Eclipse platform. The third roadmap goal of currency with Web and J2EE standards like Java 5.0 and WSDL 2.0 will be the focus of the next release.
WTP 1.0 is built upon the Eclipse 3.1.1 maintenance release and is billed as an upgrade to the original 0.7 release that makes it suitable for adoption by tool vendors. Several new features are being introduced in this latest release. The enhancements include the capability to promote selected provisional APIs to platform status based on vendor requirements; the capability to componentize WTP into features that enable users to select subsets of functionality appropriate to their requirements; and the capability to enhance and extend the out-of-the-box developer tools introduced in the 0.7 release. To “future-proof” WTP, it has been aligned with Eclipse platform changes planned for version 3.2, also known as the “Callisto” release.
IBM has contributed major document and help system enhancements that include both end-user and adopter documentation. The use of WTP 1.0 in commercial products like IBM’s Rational Application Developer for WebSphere and BEA’s Workshop is expected to accelerate the adoption curve by other vendors. Feedback from the open source community will ultimately help address the challenge of producing the right platform APIs for a demanding vendor community.
Downloads are available now at the project Web site, located at http://download.eclipse.org/webtools/downloads.