Eclipse Juno enters orbit
The Eclipse project has announced the arrival of the annual Eclipse release train. Eclipse Juno brings together twelve months' worth of work by 445 contributors from 72 different project teams – ten more than last year. Overall, it has been estimated that more than 55 million lines of code have been changed. The release train synchronises Eclipse projects in releasing improvements to their projects at the same time, ready packaged for developer and vendor use. Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation said that, because of the successful release train model, "Eclipse is a great example of open source distributed development that ships on a predictable schedule, and scales to tens of millions of lines of code."
With this release, Eclipse 4.2 is now the mainstream platform for the Eclipse community, and the Eclipse 3.x family of releases are being put into maintenance mode. To make migration less painful, Eclipse 4.2 includes a compatibility layer that allows existing plugins and RCP applications to run under the new version. A new plugin called Code Recommenders is designed to improve code completion in Eclipse by analysing how Java applications use the language's APIs. The project is building a database of coding best practices to recommend proper API usage to developers as they type using the plugin.
New packages introduced in this release include an Eclipse-based framework for embedded automotive software development, created by the Eclipse Automotive Industry Working Group. Additionally, downloading Eclipse to work with several mobile SDKs has been made easier with a dedicated Eclipse for Mobile Developers package; this includes improved integration with the Android SDK. For Lua development, the Koneki project has created an IDE for the Eclipse M2M Industry Working Group. Lua is used extensively in machine-to-machine (M2M) applications and video game programming.
The Java application server Virgo now includes the newly developed Nano kernel that allows users to build very small web applications based on the OSGi specification. OSGi is an industry-spanning platform that implements a standardised component model for Java applications and services. Version 5.0 of Equinox, Eclipse's own OSGi framework, is now released as part of Juno. Other Java improvements of note are integrated debugging support for JVM-based DSLs in Xtext and tighter integration with the Java Development Tools (JDT). JDT now supports Java 7 directly – last year's Indigo release of Eclipse was published after Java 7 was finalised and only supported it after the fact via a plugin.
Another new feature in Juno is Mylyn's Intent functionality which improves the integration between documentation and software. With Intent, developers can author documentation right from Eclipse and then generate the output format. Intent supports HTML out of the box, but other output formats can be added via plugins.