Life is about to start getting a lot easier for enterprise application developers. Last October, my JDJ article concluded with the following statement:
Eclipse plug-in developers are already spoiled with a dramatically easier way of building applications and are incapable of going back to a day in which the IDE support did not provide them with this high level of automation at both the language and component level. While the much more heterogeneous nature of JEE applications makes this kind of automation more challenging, the latest developments in the Eclipse WTP and Mylyn frameworks provide key enablers. It is high time that Java EE developers start feeling spoiled by their tool support as well.
Today’s announcement of the OSGi-based SpringSource Application Platform seals the deal. Consider the facts that Java is a great OO language, that OSGi is arguably the best component model to date and meshes perfectly with Java, and that Spring is the de facto programming model for reducing the complexity of enterprise applications. What’s clear from the announcement is that these three modularity technologies will work together seamlessly on the server side.
The final thought to keep in mind is just how far this combination of Spring, Eclipse and Mylyn can go. The static nature of Java and the quality of the OSGi component model have made it possible for Eclipse to provide a remarkable set of productivity features such as consistent refactoring across Java and plug-in resources and easy launching and debugging of plug-in based desktop applications. The Spring Framework is building on the very same Java and OSGi technologies…
The neat thing about good modularity is that it makes a tool builder’s life dramatically easier. Consider how Java’s type system enabled content assist and the browsing of type hierarchies. Or how the use of OSGi by Eclipse’s plug-ins allows you to stay sane while dealing with hundreds of plug-in versions and dependencies. Modularity technologies make it easy to navigate and browse the entire structure of the system, enabling Mylyn’s Task-Focused Interface to ensure that you only see the parts relevant to the task-at-hand, no matter how large that system is. To date Eclipse developers have been spoiled by the PDE’s plug-in and feature editors, which make it easy to evolve large Eclipse-based applications. Today’s announcement means that the same component model will now be working on the server side. The IDE support is evolving alongside the Application Platform, and leverages WTP, Spring IDE and Mylyn. Here is a teaser of the Eclipse-based tools:
Tasktop Technologies has been having a great time working on these tools with SpringSource, and you can expect a lot more Eclipse-based innovation coming from both the commercial SpringSource Tool Suite and the open source SpringSource Application Platform Tools.