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Some Data from Eclipse

I was at the Eclipse members meeting in Dallas this week, along with about forty other representatives from the Eclipse community. While the meetings at EclipseCon get better attendance, the members meetings tend to be less formal and offer better opportunities to learn what others are up to.

In this case, we received briefings from two new strategic members, one of which was Motorola. There was also a briefing from new add-in provider ARM (Advanced RISC Machines, although I don't think they go by that full name any more), a processor IP developer. ARM processors, actually implemented and manufactured by others, power many cell phones and PDAs available today.

It certainly says something about the popularity and utility of Eclipse that an embedded processor designer finds value in participating. The same can be said of Motorola. Both companies have found value in hosting development and configuration tools inside Eclipse.

We also got presentations from the Rich AJAX Platform (RAP) and the AJAX Tools Framework (ATF) projects. These projects promise to make AJAX development both easy and productive using Eclipse.

Rich Client Platform (RCP) remains a significant initiative, and Eclipse claims that more and more users are making use of this framework in building standalone applications. It is difficult to confirm this claim as a trend, but it does make some sense. For enterprise developers who want the responsiveness of a rich client but do not want the hassles of platform dependencies, the RCP seems to be a natural solution.

A marketing survey done for Eclipse by Evans Data Corporation (and co-sponsored by FTP) showed that Eclipse use was reported by about 65 percent of the respondents. The primary barrier to Eclipse use is training. Not training in the tool, per se, but training in how to write plug-ins, how to configure a specific environment, and how to support it. This sounds like a business opportunity to me.

Eclipse director of marketing Ian Skerritt said that 30 new projects had started over the past year. This speaks of both the opportunities and challenges for the Eclipse Foundation. For those seeking information on these projects for possible participation or to use their output, it can be difficult to discover that they actually exist in the first place.

The Eclipse Foundation is in the process of redesigning its site to address some of these issues. FTPOnline will also do its part, by regularly publishing descriptions and status reports of the various projects. We are working with the leadership of these projects to get the latest information on where they stand and how you might make use of this code.

Posted by Peter Varhol on 09/26/2006 at 1:15 PM

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