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Enterprise Developers: Apple Looks At Eclipse On OS X

Enterprise Developers: Apple Looks At Eclipse On OS X

by , 10:00 AM EDT, June 16th, 2004

Software developers can have it rough; they toil, working on a bit of code under often impossible deadlines. While they make a decent salary, they make nothing like the money Hollywood would have you believe. Programmers don't exert themselves physically, but the mental strain in producing good code can be as rough as wielding a sledge hammer all day.

Good tools can make a programmer's job easier, and Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) were created for the express purpose of making the tasks programmers face less formidable. What's an IDE? Think of it as a plumber's tool belt, or a carpenter's workbench, for developers. An IDE contains all of the tools necessary for a programmer, or group of programmers to plan, develop, test and deploy new software.

Of course, there are tools that can create an IDE also, and this is particularly true in the enterprise space. One of the more widely used IDE tools in that space is called Eclipse, an Open Source application originated by IBM, and released to the Open Source community in 2001.

Enterprise developers working in OS X need not feel left out, however, because Eclipse runs natively in OS X also. Apple's Developer Connection has posted an in-depth look at Eclipse in general, and the OS X implementation of Eclipse in particular; here is an excerpt of the article, Eclipse and Mac OS X: A Natural Combination:

Eclipse was originally designed for building integrated development environments (IDEs), that were versatile enough to create applications for a range of programming languages. The intention was to provide tools makers with an IDE that would include mechanisms and rules that would consistently result in seamless tools integration. Since then, Eclipse has evolved to include an IDE that provides benefits for a wide range of development projects.

Because it is Java-based, Eclipse includes the Java Development Kit (JDK); and yet its architecture supports all major programming languages from C/C++ to Cobol.

Eclipse is a free download, and is available on a number of platforms. Since IBM launched Eclipse in November 2001, more than 18 million download requests have been logged from over 125 countries.

A growing consortium of high-profile companies and organizations are actively supporting and extending Eclipse's ongoing development and giving the platform momentum. These organizations contribute support and technology, and they determine the direction and scope of Eclipse's growth.

You can find general information about Eclipse at the Eclipse.org Web site. There's also more information about Mac OS X and Eclipse in the full article at Apple's Developer Connection Web site.

Developers interested in getting some hands-on info about Eclipse should register for this year's WWDC, which takes place later this month.

The Mac Observer Spin:

This really is good news for anyone looking for a way to manage the development of a large coding project. Eclipse all but eliminates the need to enforce strict hardware requirements for your development environment, which means that IT managers can theoretically give programmers whatever system they feel most comfortable using to get the job done. Happy programmers are productive programmers, and that should ultimately make any project manager smile.

This is important for the bigger picture, too. By showing that Macs and OS X can be used in serious software development, Apple removes yet another argument for not using Macs in traditional IT development environments. That's frankly good for the platform.

All of the big IT players can run IDE tools that often cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the size of the project. If Apple is serious about entering the IT world, it has to walk the walk and talk the talk, just like IBM, Sun, and Microsoft. That means that the company needs the tools that developers use to not only run on Macs, but work well with other platforms in a common IDE. Eclipse on OS X is a demonstration of all that coming together.

There's more work to do, however: There are other tools used in big development shops, like Clearcase, that do not yet support OS X, but Eclipse is a good beginning.

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