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Eclipse 3.6M5 released

| by Alex Blewitt Follow 4 Followers on Feb 02, 2010. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

This weekend, the Eclipse Foundation released their 3.6M5 of their namesake platform, including the Java IDE for which it has become synonymous. The 3.6 stream, also known as “Helios”, is due to be released in Summer this year; however, the M5 release is likely to be the last feature complete release with the remainder being bug fixes and optimisations.

A welcome feature is the ability for SWT to handle ‘open’ operations. This allows an Eclipse runtime to act as a file association type, such that double-clicking on a file in a user's desktop will open that file inside Eclipse, without opening a new Eclipse instance. This should allow standalone Eclipse RCP tools to work with standalone files without having to resort to the user manually opening the file in the tool. In addition, Eclipse now has support for “virtual folders” which allow resources to be mapped and organised in a way unrelated to the file system.

The Eclipse platform now also ships with JUnit 3.8 and JUnit 4.7; either can be used with the automated run of tests. For those plugins which don't explicitly request a version of JUnit, there is a wiki available that discusses the changes needed to allow the tests to resolve. Lastly, the JUnit view allows test runs (recorded with the test runner) to be viewed by dragging the XML test results file onto the view. In the case where builds are executed headlessly or on a different machine, this can allow faster navigation of test failures.

PDE has been updated to allow the root of an OSGi bundle to reside at any level of the filesystem hierarchy, rather than solely at the top level. This should allow easier interoperation with tools which put resources (such as META-INF/MANIFEST.MF) in other locations. In addition, the PDE builder (which uses information stored in build.properties) now has more in-sync checks with the corresponding .classpath of the project, which will hopefully lead to earlier and easier detection of errors between in-IDE projects and the exported builds.

The OSGi runtime underneath Eclipse, Equinox, has been extended to support both declarative and programmatic registration of ServletFilters. Combined with the upcoming release of the OSGi EEG, this should allow Eclipse to trivially host web-applications inside a running instance. Furthermore, the bytecode weaving (used by AspectJ) is now supported and distributed with Equinox. Lastly, it is now possible to startup multiple Equinox consoles rather than just relying on a single console as before.

The launching framework (used for starting external programs, ant builds, PDE launches etc.) has been decoupled from the UI, which makes it easier for headless tools to be able to reuse launches from headless tools.

OSGi users will also appreciate that the EventAdmin is now bundled as part of Eclipse RCP, rather than requiring a different download in order to make use of it. Furthermore, ECF now fully supports remote services and so this should be a bigger part of distributed Eclipse Equinox systems in future.

For more information about Event Admin and Remote Services, follow InfoQ's Java Modularity series.

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