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Eclipse 3.7.1 Brings Java 7 Support

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The Eclipse Foundation today announced the release of Eclipse Indigo 3.7.1, a maintenance release for the Indigo (3.7) build train. Normally such releases wouldn't be particularly newsworthy, but in the case of this release, Java 7 support has been added to the Eclipse JDT (Java Development tools).

Eclipse 3.7 was released in June of this year, but by that time, the Java 7 specification had not been finalised in time for inclusion in the testing and release process that occurs as part of the Eclipse's carefully designed release process. This meant that in order to ship on time – like it has done yearly over the past decade – that it was not possible to enable Java 7 support out of the box. (It wasn't even possible to enable partial support, since the specification had not been finalised and it wasn't sensible to allow it to compile code which wasn't standards based at the time.)

Although other tools, such as NetBeans, provided Java 7 support early, they did so with the understanding that it was pre-release software that might change at any time. Eclipse, on the other hand, is not only a standard IDE and platform, but is also the basis of many commercial tools which build on it downstream, such as MyEclipse and IBM's WebSphere Studio/Rational toolsets. Adding an extension which might change would not have helped the downstream customers.

As a result, support for Java 7 was deferred to be included out of the box with next year's Eclipse 3.8 and 4.2 releases (and was present from Eclipse 3.8 M1). But in order to satisfy the increasing demand for Java 7 development prior to that date, the Java 7 support was pushed back to the first service release, or SR1. It is this service release which has just been added.

Other than Java7, the Indigo 3.7SR1 release adds no new features. More information about the Java7 build can be found in the what's new with Java 7 release notes. There's also a list of bugs fixed for the 3.7SR1 platform.

Other projects have also included updates in the SR1 release. EGit has been bumped from version 1.0 to 1.1, which includes some new features such as reflog support and team project support. Those using GitHub will find Mylyn's GitHub integration a bonus, as this allows pull requests to be costumed into the local IDE from a remote GitHub pull request. The ECF project also has release 3.5.2 which is included in this build, which fixes a number of issues with Remote Services Admin.

Of course, Eclipse isn't just a Java IDE. The C Development Toolkit, or CDT, has had a service release as well which brings it to 8.0.1, fixing a number of bugs in the process. And everyone's favourite filtering tool, Mylyn, has seen an update to 3.6.2 across then board, including the new Jenkins/Hudson connector and Gerrit Review hooks.

Pre-packaged installations of Eclipse can be downloaded with 3.7.1 support, or can be updated from any 3.7 installation via P2's “Help - Check for Updates” menu.

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