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Eclipse Kepler released

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The Eclipse Foundation announced the release of Eclipse Kepler, the eighth simultaneous release consisting of 71 Eclipse projects and over 58 million lines of code.

Eclipse Kepler builds on top of the Eclipse 4.x platform which was chosen as the basis for the future platforms since last year's release of Eclipse Juno. Although last year's 4.2 release was (quietly) accompanied by a 3.8 release as well, there is no such 3.9 available for those wanting to take advantage of the 4.3 updates but without the 4.x platform.

There were some initial complaints regarding the performance of Eclipse Juno, which highlighted real world use cases that could be optimised. These were subsequently made available via an interim update site after the 4.2.1 release, and although the performance improvements were included in the 4.2.2 release in February 2013, the impact was such that some developers chose to stay with the 3.7 platform rather than upgrade to the 4.2 platform. As a result, although the satisfaction of Eclipse remains high, there was a noticeable trend downwards:

Adoption of new Eclipse releases. For the first time this year there was a noticeable decrease in the adoption of the latest Eclipse release, Eclipse 4.2. In past survey results, 75%+ of the respondents would report they were using the most recent release of Eclipse, for example in 2012 76.9% were using Eclipse 3.7 (Indigo). This year only 56% reported to be using Eclipse 4.2 (Juno) and an additional 12.9% using Eclipse 3.8. The slow down in adoption is most likely the result of the performance issues found in Eclipse 4.2.


At the same time, there was a significant drop in the overall satisfaction with Eclipse. Respondents indicating they were very satisfied or satisfied dropped from 90% in 2012 to 81% in 2013. Not very good news and hopefully something that will be addressed as the Eclipse 4.x platform continues to mature.

Fortunately, Eclipse Kepler is unlikely to suffer the same fate; many of the performance sapping bugs in Eclipse 4.2 have already been quashed and folded into the 4.2.2 release, and 4.3 continues with the performance improvements generally as well as adding new features.

In addition, the 3.x release stream has not been maintained since January 2013, and no further updates are planned. So whilst it was possible to skip 4.2, for users wanting to move to new features, the only upgrade path is 4.3. Some plug-ins, like EGit, have already dropped support for 3.x releases and will only concentrate on supporting 4.x going forwards.

Eclipse Simultaneous Releases since 3.0Holger Voormann has prepared another breakdown of the growth of the Eclipse project since the 3.0 release, along with a breakdown of the projects that are included. Almost all of the projects included in Kepler now use Git; only 8 out of the 107 repositories continue to use Subversion as their repository, and with the future of Eclipse and GitHub, this trend is likely to continue. (CVS has already been shut down at Eclipse, and only the SVN team provider remains as strictly needing an SVN repository for testing purposes.)

New and Noteworthy

EGit 3.0 has been released as part of Kepler, which brings a number of improvements for speed and usability of the Git tooling. Combined with the recent upgrade of Gerrit 2.6 on the Eclipse Gerrit Review server, the use of Git at Eclipse is only increasing. One notable addition of the Git tooling is the use of compressed bitmaps, which enables JGit to serve repositories faster than a native cgit implementation.

Mylyn sees a new release with 3.9, bringing support for Bugzilla 4.4 and updating Gerrit support to 2.5; however, the work for supporting Gerrit 2.6 is still ongoing, and will likely be released as a point update in the near future. Markdown text in wiki comments has also been added, but only by adding an additional repository to the mix. Since the Eclipse foundation recently migrated the Gerrit review site to 2.6, this means the Mylyn Reviews can't be used with the standard Eclipse site for the time being.

Maven Web Tooling hits a 1.0 release, which allows Maven based web projects to integrate with the Web Tooling Platform and the faceted project support. This has been in development for a couple of releases, but the 1.0 release should bring stability for this plug-in for the future as well.

Java Development Tools adds a selection of minor refactorings to allow if/else statements to be converted to switch statements, as well as support for showing logical XML nodes in debugging sessions, but support for Java 8 is still absent pending a release of the spec.

Finally, released as part of the simultaneous release train, Eclipse Orion 3.0 has been released. Eclipse Orion is a web-based editor (and a live demo can be seen at OrionHub) that is completely rewritten in JavaScript and supports a Git-based workflow. The 2.0 release was made available in March 2013, from the 1.0 release in June 2012. Although this may not seem like a challenge to existing desktop-based IDEs, the components that make up Eclipse Orion can be embedded in other websites, making it possible to show both code editors and code diff tools on other websites.

Eclipse Kepler is available for download via the Kepler repository.

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