Top 10 Eclipse Helios Features

June 23, 2010 | 3 min Read

Two weeks ago I asked you to think about high quality software that has been consistently delivered on-time. Think about software that is used by millions of people world-wide, built by hundreds of developers, free to use and open to everybody and anybody. Think about software that spans domains, runs on the smallest of devices and powers the worlds largest enterprises.

Any ideas? Yes I’m talking about Eclipse, and the next release – Helioshas arrived. (For an an ultra fast download try our Amazon Cloudfront mirrors). While everyone seems to enjoy kicking off new software projects, specifying requirements and designing the perfect system, only to have it fizzle out – Eclipse is Different. Eclipse Delivers.

For the past 2 weeks I’ve been counting down the Top 10 Features of Helios that I’m most excited about:

10. Resource Improvements 9. Feature based configurations 8. Improvements to API Tools 7. Java IDE Improvements 6. Target Platform Improvements 5. p2 API and the b3 Aggregator 4. MarketPlace Client 3. EMF, Riena and RAP integration 2. Git Support at Eclipse

And my number 1 feature of the Helios release is: Xtext, Version 1.0.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Xtext, Xtext is a programming language framework. Xtext bridges the gap between grammars, models and programming language tool support. Using Xtext you can create a powerful environment for your own DSL (domain specific language) or full fledged general purpose programming language.

There are a number of important features that make this such a powerful toolkit, including generated editors that support code folding:

styled content providers:

quick fix support:

quick outline view, and more:

There is also a number of tools to help you create Xtext grammars such as Grammar Content Assist:

Xtext also supports project builders and can even derive a grammar from an Ecore model.

I’ve been following Xtext for close to 4 years now (from its origins at openArchitectureWare and through the Textual Model Framework proposal), and it’s great to see this excellent tool declare its 1.0 release. Xtext also received much deserved praise for its outstanding website, large collection of getting started material and they even won the Eclipse Community Award for most Innovative Eclipse Project at EclipseCon this year.

Great work Michael Clay, Sven Efftinge, Moritz Eysholdt, Dennis Huebner, Jan Koehnlein, Sebastian Zarnekow, Heiko Behrens, Peter Friese and Knut Wannheden.

Throughout this series I’ve tried to cover a variety of different Eclipse projects, but this list is far from complete. Please feel free to leave a comment with your favourite Eclipse Helios feature. Or better yet, why not write an article about it?

Ian Bull

Ian Bull

Ian is an Eclipse committer and EclipseSource Distinguished Engineer with a passion for developer productivity.

He leads the J2V8 project and has served on several …