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Eclipse Helios Simultaneous Release

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The Eclipse foundation today announced the release of Eclipse Helios, bringing 39 different projects to the same station for the seventh annual release train. The Eclipse projects are managed in an agile fashion, releasing seven milestone builds throughout the year and then a number of release candidates in the weeks leading up to June each year. Instead of varying the delivery dates, the Eclipse projects vary the content in each milestone whilst focussing on the quality and backward compatibility.

This year's release brings beta Git support out of the box with the EGit project; as the chosen distributed version control system for the future of Eclipse, out of the box Git support will be key for future releases. If you're not sure what distributed version systems get you, there's a Git for Eclipse Users documentation guide (originally from here) as well as a screencast of the Eclipse Helios London DemoCamp.

The embedded Eclipse Marketplace Client which can browse (and install) applications from the recently launched Eclipse Marketplace. This makes it easier to find Eclipse plug-ins; and can be integrated with the recent Eclipse Labs open source hosting site.

Helios also includes the first release of Xtext 1.0, winner of this year's Eclipse Award for most innovative new feature. The goal of Xtext is to provide a mechanism for generating DSL parsers and editors; a recent Eclipse Live screencast demonstrated how to create a DSL as well as a generated Eclipse-based editor (with completion support). It uses EMF to generate the AST nodes from a simple EBNF grammar language. There's a getting started document available if you want to sample it.

The Web Tools Platform has released support for the latest JavaEE platform, including Servlet 3.0, JSF 2.0 and Tomcat 7 support. In addition, XML editing and processing support (including XHTML editing) has been improved with the PsychoPath XPath 2.0 processor. JavaScript tooling has also been improved, with the ability to plug in different JavaScript debuggers. As well as the existing conditional breakpoints, it's also possible to create watch expressions, which can trigger different values at different points throughout a JavaScript runtime.

Ian Bull of EclipseSource has been providing a countdown (much like several previous years) to the top ten features in Eclipse Helios:

  1. Xtext
  2. Git support
  3. EMF, Riena and RAP integration
  4. Marketplace Client
  5. P2 API and B3 Aggregator
  6. Target platform enhancements
  7. Java IDE improvements
  8. Improvements to API tools
  9. Feature based configurations
  10. Resource improvements

As well as the “classic” SDK package, a number of specific targeted packages are available, such as C/C++ development, PHP development, JEE development and others such as BIRT reporting and modelling tools. In addition, the OSX packages are available for both 32 and 64-bit Cocoa; whilst there is a Carbon version, Eclipse Helios will likely be the last version to support Carbon as a runtime environment (not least of which is that OSX 10.7 is unlikely to continue to support Carbon).

There is a Helios in Action virtual conference which is free to attend; the conference includes presentations on Linux Tools, EMF on the Web, Eclipse EGit, JavaScript Development, JavaEE, Standards Support, Marketplace Client, Modelling, Eclipse Runtime, Mylyn and an overview of Ian's top ten.

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