Well here we are, it’s release week. Eclipse 3.6 — Helios — will be available on Wednesday June 23rd. It also means that I’m into my Top 3 features for this years release. For the past 7 days I’ve been presenting some of the New and Noteworthy features of this years release.
Number 3 on my Top 10 list is EMF, Riena and RAP integration.
I’ll be the first person to admit that when I first heard about the Rich Ajax Platform (RAP) I didn’t get it. I assumed RAP was about re-recreating the Eclipse UI in a browser. I, like many others, quickly realized that this is not the point of RAP. RAP brings the Eclipse programming model – Jobs API, JFace content providers, SWT API, Stacks, Forms, Selection Providers, etc… to the browser. If you appreciate the Eclipse programming model, and more importantly, if you have invested in the Eclipse programming model, then RAP is your best friend.
Of course you *can* re-create the Eclipse UI in the browser:
but this likely is not what you want to do. Instead, you want to reuse your existing software and theme it for a rich web experience.
The concept of reusing your hard work across multiple mediums is known as Single Sourcing. And it’s not just about the web; the new RAP protocol (not part of Helios) will open up a whole new world such as RAP on the IPad.
There are a number of notable new RAP feature in Helios including Opaque menus:
Drag and Drop:
and Graphics context support:
For these features, kudos goes out to Ralf Sternberg, Holger Staudacher, Tim Buschtoens, Ruediger Herrmann, Austin Riddle, Ivan Furnadjiev and Benjamin Muskalla.
While the new RAP features are incredible, RAP demonstrates the real power of Helios — cross product integration. Other Eclipse projects are starting to target RAP as runtime. In particular, Elias Volanakis has extended the Riena framework to make it work with RAP. You can now use the powerful Rigets on the web.
Finally, Kenn Hussey has extended the EMF Framework to target the Riach Ajax Platform as well as the RCP Platform.