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Friday,October 18,2019


Eclipse's Largest Gravy Train Helios Arrives

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Amongst the colossal additions and falls that 2010 has witnessed, the Helios technology from the Eclipse line has come hurtling down the tracks in June this year. The seventh annual consecutive release is the largest and includes 39 different project teams, over 33 million lines of code and the work of 490 committers. 

“The major reason why we do these release trains is to help spur adoption of Eclipse technologies. The expectation is that the commercial ecosystem will add value on top of the Eclipse platform,” said Eclipse Executive Director Mike Milinkovich.

Developers Spoilt for Choice

Codenamed Helios, the current release train comes loaded with developer delights comprising projects based on open source, Java based Eclipse IDE, and more features including improved support in the JavaScript Development Tools project (JSDT) including a JavaScript debug framework, Eclipse Marketplace Client that makes it easier to find and install Eclipse solutions, the new support for Git, a popular distributed version control (DVCS), and so on.

A special mention is the updated Linux IDE package. Now Linux developers can use integrated tool chains for building C/C++ applications for the Linux operating systems. Linux utilities such as GNU Autotools, Valgrind, OProfile, RPM, SystemTap, GCov, GProf, and LTTng are integrated and with Linux gaining popularity, Helios gives Linux an added boost.

The winner of this year's Eclipse Award for most innovative new feature is the newborn Xtext 1.0. It provides a mechanism for generating DSL parsers and editors. A document to help you get started is provided to sample this feature.

The Eclipse 3.6 also contains Acceleo 3.0. High ability to customize, interoperability, easy kick off, traceability management contributes to its ability to provide unique tools around example-base design of code generators.

The Blaze

With all eyes being on mobility, the booming Helios has Sequoyah 1.0 feature for mobile development. "Mobile development is motivating a lot of developer technology choices nowadays and Eclipse will be pressured to do more and more," said analyst Michael Cote of RedMonk. "Also, developers are starting to figure out what it means to develop for and deploy their applications to cloud scenarios -- shorter release cycles, taking on more operational concerns, etc. -- and that'll be another area that will quickly drive the tooling requirements to folks like Eclipse."

IBM, Oracle, and SAP and Jetty have jumped on the Helios train for its recognized remuneration. “The key benefit of participation is obviously better Jetty integration, but another important benefit is that it has given us an opportunity to interact with other projects, to improve our build processes and to help other Eclipse projects to do the same.” lead Jetty developer Greg Wilkins stated when interviewed on what Jetty has gained from joining Helios

The Shadows

However, some feel this new release has a complicated interface and can be monolithic. It promises to be more stable, but its help and documentation are a big disappointment.

As Vinitha Sinha’s blog post reads, "The core reason is that Eclipse has a lot of features that it just feels monolithic and the interface feels complicated. The Eclipse marketplace is a great start – but we need to split up and add to it the various components as features in the marketplace. If needed, we can even add another tab for these basic features. Without these, Eclipse will feel heavyweight”.

The Eclipse distribution has virtually something for every kind of developer. Though Eclipse may have initially started out as an IDE, the Eclipse community has grown exponentially to give Eclipse the platform status today.

Though some of the long standing bugs have not been fixed in this edition, Helios offers a plethora of strong features that will bolster its popularity until the dynamic Eclipse community waits for what comes rumbling down the tracks next year in the eighth edition. 

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