Thursday, March 03, 2005

IBM to bolster Eclipse tools arsenal

IBM to bolster Eclipse tools arsenal
IBM on Friday is announcing Eclipse-based developer resources for the Apache Derby database and voice-based applications, in advance of next week’s EclipseCon 2005 conference.

To boost development on Derby, which is the open source variant of IBM’s small-footprint Cloudscape database, the company is making available a set of plug-ins to edit, compile, debug, and deploy Java applications on Derby via the Eclipse environment. The plug-ins are available now on the company’s developerWorks site at Developers also can use these plug-ins with Cloudscape.

Additionally, a new integration plug-in integrates Derby tools into Eclipse. IBM also is including on its developerWorks site tutorials and forums for building a sample Apache Derby application on the Eclipse framework through IBM’s tools and plug-ins.

IBM released what became known as Derby to the Apache Software Foundation (Profile, Products, Articles) in 2004. The database uses 2MB of memory and can be embedded in applications for use in client devices or by small businesses.

BM also is announcing that its Voice Tools proposal, submitted to the Eclipse Foundation by IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and other vendors, has been granted Project status within Eclipse. The project is intended to provide a standard way of writing VoiceXML applications and allow developers to more easily add speech access to Web applications. Voice technology can be used in applications that, for example, interact with a customer, according to IBM.

IBM’s initial contribution to Voice Tools will be speech markup editors to make it easier to write standards-based speech applications and develop RDCs (reusable dialog components) within these applications. RDCs are JSP tags for development of voice applications and multimodal user interfaces, IBM said.

“We basically established a project within the Eclipse Foundation around VoiceXML so developers can use this code and use markup editors and [begin] to use voice in the applications they’re building around Eclipse,” said Kathy Mandelstein, director of developer relations for the IBM software group.

IBM’s voice offering will help users build multi-channel applications that integrate voice with other channels, said analyst Carl Zetie of Forrester Research. “There’s a real business need for that,” he said.

By donating technologies to the open source Eclipse organization, IBM is able to boost the profile of its value-added commercial offerings, such as its Rational tools, Zetie said. “The [philosophy] is what’s good for Eclipse is good for IBM,” said Zetie.

Additionally, several Eclipse-based alpha technologies are available now for download on the alphaWorks emerging technology Web site at, including:

* alphaWorks Web Tools for Eclipse, which are intended to reduce the time needed to develop Java Web applications. The technology submission features a subset of plug-ins in the IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere software.

* The Web Services Interface Definition for Intrusion Defense, which is an Eclipse plug-in to validate the WSDL interface specification of a Web service and flag any interface feature that could enable a hacker to attack the service.

* Model Transformation Framework tools to make comparisons, check consistency, and implement transformations between Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF) models.

* Emfatic Language for EMF development, which represents EMF Ecore models in a textual form. Ecore provides a meta model for describing models.

* Partitioning Facility Editor for WebSphere Extended Deployment (WASXD), which is an Eclipse plug-in to enable development of partitions.xml files that can be used to define a WASXD’s application’s partitions and partition expressions. The software provides for partitions between XML applications.

EclipseCon 2005 is being held in Burlingame, Calif. IBM was the founder of Eclipse in 2001 but spun it out into an independent organization last year.

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