Red Hat and Eclipse IDE, looking back at Neon and forward at Oxygen
Last June, Eclipse IDE had a great release, named Neon. It features, among many other less visible but still quite useful improvements, many new functionalities for everyone. If you did not migrate yet and are still using an older Eclipse version, just move to Neon right now, it’s worth it!
For this Neon release, Red Hat managed to increase its contributions to the Eclipse IDE. The 2 main teams doing Eclipse IDE development (to package Eclipse IDE as .rpm for Fedora Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and to develop JBoss Tools Eclipse plugins and Red Hat JBoss Developer Studio) could spend more time working upstream, directly on the Eclipse IDE and related projects.
If you follow some Eclipse mailing-lists or Bugzilla discussions, you’ll see that Red Hat developers are involved in many areas about improving the Eclipse IDE: look and feel, usability, necessary feature set, Linux, new trends… The intention of Red Hat regarding Eclipse IDE is clear and public: we all want the Eclipse IDE to remain great and even greater than it has even been and probably the greatest desktop IDE on the market – and this continuously. Together with the numerous other motivated contributors to the Eclipse community and ecosystem, we’re confident that’s something achievable.
As discussions on mailing-list and bug tracking system are not improvements per se, let’s have a quick look at the most visible pieces of code provided by Red Hat developers into Eclipse Neon IDE:
- A JSon Editor with syntax highlighting, content assist, error reporting…
- Docker Tools to edit, run and manage Docker images
- Vagrant Tools to run and manage Virtual Machines
- Smarter and easier Import of projects in the IDE allows you to always use the same workflow and UI to import whichever project and decides for you what type of project it is and how it can be configured as best
- Zoom In/Out with Ctrl+/Ctrl- in text editors, very useful for presentation or when you’ve spent too much time on your screen that reading small characters becomes tiring.
- Discovery and proposal of Marketplace extensions for unknown file types to automatically find the best plugins to install when dealing with whatever file format.
- Improvement for SWT on GTK3, which is now much preferred to GTK2 on recent Linux distributions
- Disable the IDE CSS engine for theming and use the “native” style if you prefer a style that’s closer to your system one and want to save some CPU cycles.
For Neon.1 – released September 28th:
- More Docker, including support for Docker Compose.
- Image viewer in the Eclipse IDE so you don’t get a new window popping up when looking at an image from Eclipse IDE.
For Eclipse Oxygen, next major release to be shipped in June 2017, here are our plans:
- A generic and extensible code editor in Eclipse Platform, to easily support new languages.
- Integration with the language server protocol (from VS Code) to consume for free external tools that will follow this specification in Eclipse IDE – and there are already some very good ones!
- Continuous contribution to Platform UI to unify the various navigators and editors
- Simplify the most common tasks by improving workflows, user interface and user experience; and spreading some UX good practices everywhere in the Eclipse IDE.
Fun times ahead! And if you’re interested, you’re welcome to contribute and get involved in the Eclipse community!