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Helios: The Train Has Arrived

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The Eclipse Helios release is now available for download.  Each year I am amazed how the Eclipse community is release on such a predictable schedule.  Congratulations to all that help make it happen.

Helios is the biggest Eclipse release ever!  We have over 39 different project teams participating, more than 33 million lines of code, 490 committers, 108 of those committers were individuals and the rest of commiters work for 44 different organizations.  The amazing thing is that this is the 7th year in a row the Eclipse platform has been release the last week of June, never missing a schedule release date.  What other software organization can make that claim!!

Helios Highlights

Each year we highlight some of the new and interesting technology that is being released.  We also ask you to tell the community what you think is cool and interesting. For instance, Ian Bull has done the definitive top 10 list. Here are some of the things I think are interesting in Helios.

1. Git support.  EGit and JGit 0.8 release are part of Helios.  As many know Git and GitHub have a lot of interest in the developer community, especially at Eclipse.  These two projects are well on the way to providing great Eclipse tooling for Git.

2. Linux IDE.  The Linux Tools project has done a great job improving Eclipse for Linux developers.   They have also created a new package for the download page, called the Linux IDE.   As we reported in the Eclipse survey a lot more developers are using Linux as their desktop operating system, so the Linux IDE is meeting a growing demand.

3. JavaScript IDE.   JavaScript is becoming more and more popular, so great tooling from Eclipse is important.  The JavaScript Development Tools project has done some nice improvements to the JavaScript debug framework and the JavaScript editor.   Like JDT, PDT, CDT, Eclipse is quickly becoming home to a great JavaScript IDE.   We have also created a new JavaScript package for the download page.

4. Xtext 1.0.  Xtext has great momentum. If people are interested in domain specific languages, they are looking at Xtext as a solution.  For instance, Morgan Stanley did a case study of using Xtext at the recent Code Generation conference.

5. Acceleo 3.0.  Acceleo is another popular Eclipse modeling project that implements the OMG Model to Text standard.   This is another great example of a modeling project that makes Eclipse the leader in the modeling community.

6. Marketplace Client.  OK, I am biased on this one since I was directly involved with this project but the Marketplace Client is looking great.   We will have over 100 Eclipse products that can now be directly installable into your Eclipse installation.  We are very close to having an Eclipse AppStore for the entire Eclipse ecosystem.

New Projects for the Release Train

This year we have a number of new projects on the release train.   People often lose sight of the fact that projects volunteer to participate in the release train, no one forces them, so it is great to see the continued interest.

Learn More About Helios

There are a number of information resources setup to help you learn more about Helios.  Check out any of the following:

  • Helios Virtual Conference on June 24 will feature 10 speakers on different topics related to Helios.
  • Helios Demos features different project demos highlighting what is new in their Helios release, including ECF, JDT, JSF, PDT and more.
  • Helios Blogathon features reviews of the Helios projects from the Eclipse community.

Next Year

The release train is called Indigo and I am confident it will be available the last week of June.


Published at DZone with permission of Ian Skerrett, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)



Tom Wheeler replied on Wed, 2010/06/23 - 12:05pm

Congratulations on the release!


The amazing thing is that this is the 7th year in a row the Eclipse platform has been release the last week of June, never missing a schedule release date.  What other software organization can make that claim!!


It certainly is impressive (and pretty rare, in my experience) for a large project to consistently meet its deadlines like this.  I'd find it very interesting to read more about how you've done it -- and I expect many others would too.

Marcos de Sousa replied on Wed, 2010/06/23 - 2:43pm

Great work over eclipse helios.

Maven support is needed.

Steve Banks replied on Thu, 2010/06/24 - 2:05am

"What other software organization can make that claim!!" Well, OpenBSD for one..14 years and counting, released like clockwork.

Smeltet Kerne replied on Thu, 2010/06/24 - 5:18am

According to the eclipse survey 2010 Linux as developer desktop is steadily gaining 6% per year and Windows dropping about the same amount. This is an interesting trend - does this suggest anything about the general accepability of the Linux desktop? The move from Linux to Windows cannot be explained by a feature descrepency in Eclipse itself because its the same on both platforms. It can be explained by the continued work on the Linux version of Eclipse and the continued improvements of the Linux desktop. How much they each contribute would be guesswork, but in general you wouldn't move to Linux if you found Eclipse on Linux to be acceptable but the general Desktop to be unacceptable.

Ian Skerrett replied on Thu, 2010/06/24 - 7:36am

@tom I don't know of anyone that has written up how Eclipse does the release trains.  In summary, I think there are a couple of key best practices: 1) very limited decision making, the project teams/developers make the feature decisions about their projects, 2) modular architecture so the dependencies between projects are well defined, and 3) lots of practice releases before the final release.

 @marcos what type of Maven support do you mean?  Have you lookd at Tycho?

 @steve  thanks for pointing out about OpenBSD release reputation.  14 years is very very impressive!

@smeltet imho, I think the gain of Eclipse on Linux is due to the improvements of Linux on the desktop but I agree the Eclipse improvements are helping too.

Marky Goldstein replied on Tue, 2010/08/10 - 11:06am

Yes, built in Maven and Subversion are a must. I start to hate plugins ;) the Marketplace is nice... iPhone inspired ?

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