Eclipse Programmer's Workbench Getting Enterprise Service Bus - InformationWeek

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3/23/2009
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Eclipse Programmer's Workbench Getting Enterprise Service Bus

Swordfish is one of several Eclipse projects to produce runtime environments for the code produced with Eclipse tools.

At EclipseCon, the annual event for users of the Eclipse open source programmer's workbench, the Eclipse Foundation is expected to announce that its members are on the verge of producing the first release of a next-generation enterprise service bus, Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the foundation, said Monday.

EclipseCon takes place annually in Santa Clara, Calif., as users gather to learn about the latest developments in the open source programmer's workbench. Eclipse has been a rallying point for Java toolmakers, who plug their tools into Eclipse to enable them to swap files with other tools. Toolmakers have flocked to Eclipse as a way to make their tools more competitive with Microsoft's integrated Visual Studio and .Net environment.

Swordfish is one of several Eclipse projects to produce runtime environments for the code produced with Eclipse tools. A Swordfish ESB can be used to deploy a service-oriented architecture project where parts of the application are in different locations or on different systems. The ESB automatically translates file formats used by one application into those used by another. It also discovers the right messaging system to reach the message's desired destination.

The first release of Swordfish "is still at the 0.9 rather than 1.0 level" of preparedness for release, said Milinkovich in an interview in advance of the show's opening. "We still need to harden some of the APIs," he said. The press release announcing Swordfish is slightly less optimistic. It says the ESB will be available at the 0.8 level in the first week of April for free download from the Eclipse Swordfish Web site.

Swordfish is based on the OSGi component model, which makes Java software objects interoperate more predictably, leading to more independent modules of code. It includes a Service Registry to help service consumers find service providers, and uses policies to guide the connection between the two.

It also includes a Monitoring Framework for detailed tracking of how messages are processed. Message handling events can be stored for analysis or inclusion in a complex event processing system, which monitors events looking for predictable patterns, extreme cases, and exceptions.

Swordfish is being developed to help the deployment of SOAs at Deutsche Post and other enterprises, said Ricco Deutscher, CTO of Sopera and a member of the Eclipse Runtime Project Management Committee, in the announcement.

Tibco, IBM, Sun, and Oracle produce commercial ESBs, along with other vendors; MuleSource produces the open source Mule lightweight ESB.

Milinkovich said the foundation is on track to launch a previously announced mobile application development platform, Pulsar, in an initiative lead by Motorola and Nokia.

IBM, RIM, and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications are also participating in creating the platform, along with Genuitec. Genuitec is the supplier of an Eclipse integrated development environment, the MyEclipse Enterprise Workbench, which sits atop the Eclipse programmer's workbench and gives developers a single graphical environment in which to create code, debug, and write reports.

The first version of Pulsar is expected in late June. In effect, this group of companies will seek to do for mobile platforms what the Eclipse programmer's workbench did for Java tools: create one place where different toolkits may plug into a workbench and exchange files. If each manufacturer makes its software development kit conform to Pulsar specs, then applications developed for one mobile device could be moved to a previously incompatible device.

Eclipse 4.0 is still under development, and Milinkovich lifted the covers just enough for a peek at some of its features. The 1.0 version is expected to be available next year. An early release version for testers will be available this summer. It will include more support for building applications in Eclipse for the Web, with widgets that help produce Web 2.0-style, interactive applications based on Adobe Flex, Microsoft Silverlight, or open source Ajax.


Another company with high interest in this area is Microsoft. InformationWeek has published an independent analysis of this topic. Download the report here (registration required).

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