Eclipse blots out the future

Eclipse blots out the future... for other Java integrated development environments (IDE). In a poll of software developers last December, BZ Research found that 65 percent of the 621 respondents were using the open-source Eclipse IDE for coding in Java.

Among the 22 other Java IDEs mentioned in the survey, the next closest garnered a 20 percent usage share among the surveyed developers. With those results in mind, John Michelsen, chief architect at iTKO, says his company will turn its Lisa 3.0 software testing tool into an Eclipse plug-in by year's end. Michelsen says that Eclipse has suddenly become so dominant among Java programmers that "the question is no longer whether we will support Eclipse, but whether we can support non-Eclipse use of Lisa."

Ward Cunningham, a community development director at Eclipse Foundation, is happy but cautious about the Eclipse technology's ascendancy from zero market share in the first of BZ Research's annual surveys in 2002 to top of the pack last year. "Winning in the marketplace means surviving your success," he says. "We have to make sure it's a wise decision for developers to continue to support Eclipse."

For the first time, the annual update of Eclipse, code-named Callisto and due this month, will be released simultaneously with 10 popular open-source plug-ins, including a business intelligence and reporting tool and a visual editor. In addition to being open-source, Eclipse is language-agnostic, Cunningham notes. You can use Java, of course, but you can also develop in C, C++, Python and others. What about .Net? Not yet, but, "it's possible" in the future, Cunningham suggests.

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