The Eclipse Theia Community Release 2024-02

February 8, 2024 | 5 min Read

We are happy to announce the fifth Eclipse Theia community release “2024-02”, version 1.45.x!

New to Eclipse Theia? It is the next-generation platform for building IDEs and tools for the web or desktop, based on modern state-of-the-art web technologies. For more details, please refer to a well-rounded introduction to Theia and visit the Theia website.

Starting with the 1.45 release, the Theia project also releases a product, the Theia IDE. The Eclipse Theia IDE is a modern and open IDE for cloud and desktop aimed at end users. The Theia IDE is based on the Theia platform. For more details, see the feature section below.

In contrast to the monthly releases, community releases are provided every quarter by the Theia project. A dedicated release branch allows contributors to harden and even hotfix a community release. Finally, third-party technologies, such as Eclipse GLSP or CDT Cloud, select the community release as a compatibility anchor, i.e. they provide versions that are compatible with a specific community release. Learn more about the advantages of the Theia community release and visit the Theia release page.

In a nutshell, if you adopt Theia as a platform and do not always want to consume the monthly releases, the community releases are your way to go!

We are happy to announce our first community call on March 14th 2024. In the open Theia community call, we give an update about Theia, the ecosystem and the community. Furthermore, we want to host open discussion among the community of Theia adopters, contributors and users. Feel free to suggest items to the agenda.

Now, let’s summarize some highlights on the road to this fourth Theia community release!

Highlights of the Theia 2024-02 community release

This community release is the result of two months of development. Therefore, the 2024-02 release contains the improvements that were added in the Theia releases 1.44 and 1.45 which is in total 65 pull requests. Let’s look at three highlights!

The Theia IDE

We’re excited to introduce the beta release of the Eclipse Theia IDE, version 1.45, a modern, open IDE for both cloud and desktop, designed for end users (developers). Built on the robust Theia platform, this IDE can be downloaded as a desktop application and more details can be found on its homepage.

You can enhance the Theia IDE by adding VS Code extensions from the OpenVSX registry, a marketplace for these extensions. Extensions can be accessed in the IDE or viewed online at OpenVSX.

We highly value your feedback on the Theia IDE, so please submit any issues or feature requests here. We also welcome your participation in its development. Try out the latest version of the Theia IDE online (limited to 30 minutes per session) via Theia Cloud.

The Eclipse Theia IDE is an evolution from Theia Blueprint, which has been a template IDE for over two years. After extensive testing and community effort, it replaces Theia Blueprint and also serves as a customizable template for building your own tools and IDEs. Explore how to customize and build your own Eclipse Theia-based product in our documentation.

Support for “portable mode”

Theia 1.44 introduces an exciting feature known as “portable mode,” specifically designed for Electron-based applications. This mode allows Theia to store all user-related data, including settings, preferences, and the state of the workbench, directly within the same directory as the Theia application itself. This functionality proves especially beneficial in scenarios where there is a need to transport or move a Theia-based application to different environments or devices, such as transferring it via a USB stick. This portable mode ensures that all your configurations and customizations travel with the application, providing a seamless experience across different machines. For those interested in activating this mode, detailed instructions are available to guide you through the process.

Improvement for Theia Adopters

The Theia community release 2024-02 brings multiple enhancements beneficial for adopters, using Theia as a foundation to develop their custom tools or IDEs. Theia 1.44 adds support for testing Electron Applications with Playwright, including a dedicated page object model for Playwright.

Another important addition in Theia 1.44 is a new command that lists all installed plugins in an application, aiding in the management of VS Code extensions and Theia plugins. Additionally, this release enhances debugging by allowing webview console log messages to be forwarded to the browser console, improving the tracing of logs from within WebViews.

Theia 1.45 introduces a new CLI parameter --electronUserData, which enables users to set the Electron userData path explicitly. This feature is particularly useful for running two separate instances of a Theia application with distinct configurations. However, it’s important to note that this isn’t required for simply opening two windows of the same application, like in the Theia IDE.

In line with ongoing efforts to enhance Theia’s start-up performance, the 1.45 release no longer waits for plugin deployment in the backend process during the frontend start-up, thereby further speeding up the process. Impressively, over the past few months, Theia’s start-up time has been reduced by 40-60%!

These were just some selected highlights from the latest Theia community release, but there is much more!

The 2024-02 release also ensures compatibility to the latest VS Code extension API. As you might already know, you can use VS Code extensions in Eclipse Theia applications. This enables you to enhance your Theia-based application with features from a huge ecosystem of available extensions available for VS Code, e.g. via the openVSX Registry.

Theia has maintained full compatibility with the VS Code extension API. Therefore it is time to celebrate this continuous achievement! Also check out Mike’s nice article about Theia’s full Compatibility with VS Code Extension API and the story behind it.

Please check out the monthly release announcements of Theia to read more about the developments in the 2024-02 release. We are looking forward to the next Theia community release in May 2024!

If you are interested in building custom tools or IDEs based on Eclipse Theia, EclipseSource provides consulting and implementation services for Eclipse Theia as well as for web-based tools in general. Furthermore, if you want to extend Theia with features such as the toolbar or the test framework, EclipseSource provides sponsored development for Theia, too. Finally, we provide consulting and support for hosting web-based tools in the cloud. Get in contact with us, to discuss your use case!

Jonas, Maximilian & Philip

Jonas Helming, Maximilian Koegel and Philip Langer co-lead EclipseSource. They work as consultants and software engineers for building web-based and desktop-based tools. …