Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Eclipse is an open source platform-independent software framework for delivering what the project calls "rich-client applications" (as opposed to "thin clients", this means the clients perform heavy-duty work on the host running the application). So far this framework has typically been used to develop IDEs (Integrated Development Environments), such as the highly-regarded Java IDE called Java Development Toolkit (JDT) and compiler that come as part of Eclipse (and which are also used to develop Eclipse itself). However, it can be used for other types of client application as well, see the popular BitTorrent client Azureus for example.
Eclipse was originally developed by IBM, but is now developed by the Eclipse Foundation, an independent not-for-profit consortium of software industry vendors. Many notable software tool vendors have embraced Eclipse as a future framework for their IDEs, among them Borland and IBM Rational.
The basis for Eclipse is the rich client platform (RCP). The following components constitute the rich client platform:
- Core platform (boot Eclipse, run plug-ins)
- OSGi (a standard bundling framework)
- SWT (a portable widget toolkit)
- JFace (file buffers, text handling, text editors)
- The Eclipse Workbench (views, editors, perspectives, wizards)
Eclipse's widgets are based on IBM's third generation widget toolkit for Java called SWT which is a successor to Sun's first and second generation toolkits (AWT and Swing, respectively). Eclipse's user interface also depends on an intermediate GUI layer called JFace which simplifies the construction of applications based on SWT.
Eclipse employs plug-ins in order to provide all of its additional functionality on top of the rich client platform, in contrast to some other IDEs where functionality is typically hard-coded . This plug-in mechanism is a lightweight software componentry framework and for example allows Eclipse to support other languages in addition to the Java. Separate plug-ins have been created that add support for, among others, C/C++ (CDT), Python, telnet and database development. The plug-in architecture supports writing any desired extension to the environment, such as for configuration management. It does not have to be used solely to support other programming languages.
Eclipse began as an IBM project. In November 2001, an IBM-independent foundation was formed to further the development of Eclipse.
Eclipse 3.0 (2003) selected the OSGi Service Platform specifications as the runtime architecture.
- NetBeans another modular, open source, multi-language platform and IDE for Java.
- Official Eclipse website - Has mailing-lists, newgroups, plugins, and more.
- Eclipse API
- Eclipse Documentation - Documentation for the Eclipse SDK (1.0 to 3.0.1)
- Eclipse plugin site - One of the most popular eclipse plugin directories.
- Eclipse Wikipedia Editor Plugin - A syntax highlighting editor with upload/download capabilities for wikipedia texts
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