As most of you know, Eclipse Helios will be released next week. For regular readers of my blog (and PlanetEclipse.org), you know that I’ve been counting down some of the new features available in this release. During this series I have received comments (both in the comment fields, and on places like twitter) that essentially read: I really like Eclipse except it doesn’t have an editor for XYZ. Or, when I get the following package, it has feature ABC which I don’t want. Obviously we can’t please all the people all of the time.
It was feedback like this that inspired Feature Number 4 on my Top 10 List: The Eclipse MarketPlace Client.
As we all know, Eclipse is much more than a Java IDE. In fact, Eclipse is an entire eco-system with thousands of plug-ins. Some of these plug-ins are packaged with the different Eclipse downloads. Other plug-ins are available as projects at eclipse.org. However, there are also thousands of plug-ins that are not hosted at Eclipse. Some of these are commercial tools developed for enterprise customers. Others (like one of my favourites — the vi plugin) have a small cost associated to help pay for the developers time. Finally, there is a large assortment of plug-ins available from a variety of other hosting sites. Finding and installing these components has always been a challenge, but with the Helios release this will all change.
The MarketPlace Client (MPC) makes it easy to browse and install 3rd party components. Available under Eclipse -> Help, this new feature should make it much easier to find the tools you need.
Also, unlike other ‚famous‘ markets (or app stores), the Eclipse MarketPlace Client is plug-able and open, meaning vendors are free to create custom market places for their particular needs. Helios currently ships with 2 marketplaces, one from Eclipse.org, and the Yoxos Market hosted by EclipseSource. The two markets are slightly different in that the Eclipse MarketPlace lists plug-ins for a variety Eclipse versions, while the Yoxos MarketPlace is a curated repository of Helios related content.
It was the great work from David Green and Steffen Pingel that brought us this feature. Nathan Gervais from the Eclipse Foundation did the server side work, while Ian Skerrett was the point person behind all of this.
Eclipse Labs is a community of open source projects that build technology based on the Eclipse platform. It provides the infrastructure services typically required by open source projects, such as code repositories, bug tracking, project web sites/wiki. Eclipse Labs is hosted by Google Code Project Hosting, so it will be very familiar to developers already using Google Code Project Hosting.
Combing the market place with Eclipse Labs will make it much easier for developers to create, publish and distribute their products to the community.