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Eclipse IDE 2021-09 Supports Java 17

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The Eclipse Foundation released Eclipse IDE 2021-09, a quarterly update of its flagship project, on September 15, 2021. It supports Java 17 through a plugin and improves Java refactoring, code assist, Git history navigation, and the IDE's dark mode. As can be expected in such a short amount of time, the recently established Eclipse IDE Working Group has not been able to reverse the decline in sub-project activities.

New features include: a faster IDE start-up; a "Raw paste" option which neither indents source code nor imports types; a new quick fix can change a while loop to a do … while loop if the starting condition is true; the refactoring of extracting superclasses now handles the initialization of final fields in the constructor; a new code clean-up that can replace StringBuffer with StringBuilder; code completion that hides rarely used classes by default now but includes Mockito argument matchers; and the Git history offers more navigation options. The IDE's dark theme was polished: Tooltips have a dark appearance, and both the content assist window background and the print margin are gray.

The Eclipse IDE installer offers pre-configured flavors of the IDE, including two for Java developers.

17 years after the initial release of the Eclipse IDE, the Eclipse IDE Working Group was established in June 2021 to ensure its "continued sustainability, integrity, evolution and adoption." Unfortunately, some project vitals are still moving in the wrong direction, as the chart below shows. It groups the sub-projects by their last release date, with 2019-12 being the last release completed before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Compared with the 2019-12 release, the number of sub-projects with a release decreased from 71% to 40%, while the number of projects with a release one year or older increased from 5% to 28%. The current 2021-09 release also has one fewer sub-project than the previous 2021-06 release. The 67 current sub-projects represent a 17% decline from the peak of 81 projects in release 2018-12:

Sub-Project Releases in Eclipse IDE


Each Eclipse IDE release page lists the numbers of committers and contributors. Release 2019-06 had the highest numbers for both. The current release lost 35% of its committers and 42% of its contributors compared with that. The sharpest decline already occurred in the second half of 2019, before the COVID pandemic struck:

Eclipse IDE Release Participation


The next Eclipse IDE release is planned for mid-December 2021. Developers can learn more about these new features in this video.

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