First of all, if you are using any version of Eclipse (3.1-3.6) and are migrating to Sun/Oracle JDK update 21, be wary of this bug: 319514. Basically, Eclipse checks if the VM is Sun to add a “PermSize” flag, but now it is renamed to Oracle and the check no longer works. Without the PermSize, Eclipse is very unstable and will crash very often. As a workaround, add the flag “-XX:MaxPermSize=256m” manually in the eclipse.ini file in the root of your Eclipse install below the “-vmargs” line.
Eclipse is one of the biggest open source initiatives today. It houses a lot of projects, several of which depend on each other. Each year they ship a simultaneous release, named after a Jupiter moon, and this year, it’s called: Helios.
A nice new addition is the Eclipse Marketplace Client (EMC). This connects to the Eclipse Marketplace web site, and provides a nice integrated experience for installing and updating third party plug-ins. Note that the web site has some additional categories, like “training and consulting”, which also features your favorite company. For now, Eclipse Helios features are not hosted on Marketplace though, so you still need the trusted update sites/dropins for that, which feels a bit weird. Also, if you are an Eclipse old-timer like me who always downloads the Classic edition, you need to install the EMC manually, it’s not in there out of the box.
Interesting to watch will be the Mylyn “ALM” initiative, which expands Mylyn to build management among other areas. This may turn into a lightweight version of tooling like Microsoft Team System or IBM “Jazz” Team Concert. I still did not find anything to try besides the announcement though, this month the Mylyn team provides more information on Eclipse Live.
Another exciting development is the new Eclipse Gemini and Virgo projects. These are developments around the “Enterprise OSGi” standards that are taking solid shape now. Basically, Gemini is about building blocks for standards support, while Virgo is based on the SpringSource DM server, which is basically an install-and-ready-to-go web container with tool support. OSGi really solves a ton of classpath problems and provides some powerful capabilities, I really hope in a couple of years this kind of technology will become the norm.
The Java IDE got some more polish, Windows 7 taskbar gizmos support, and some minor overall performance/scalability fixes makes this release feel again a bit better. Under the hood, JUnit support is refactored, which could make it easier for “test on save” tooling to integrate better. Definately a good release once again, be sure to upgrade as soon as your plug-ins allow it!