Monday, March 13, 2006

Genuitec adapts NetBeans UI to eclipse

Source: Computer Business Review

One of the earliest members of Eclipse is about to borrow what is arguably the most popular feature of the rival NetBeans.

Genuitec LLC, known for its MyEclipse integrated development environment, is about to demonstrate NetBeans' Matisse user interface on an Eclipse tool at the EclipseCon conference next week.

"Matisse is light years ahead of VI [Eclipse Visual Interface]," said Genuitec president Maher Masri, explaining the move.

Sun Microsystems began NetBeans as an open source framework to develop Java tooling. Shortly thereafter, IBM spun off Eclipse from its Java tooling efforts as an open source project. To date, Eclipse has drawn far more third-party support than NetBeans.

To get an idea of how Genuitec mixed and matched features, it helps to understand that the main differentiation between Eclipse and NetBeans Java tools frameworks is that each supports different sets of visual screen controls. While NetBeans supports Swing, Eclipse is bound to the AWT visual controls.

Genuitec decoupled the Matisse UI from Swing so it could generate AWT. It would accomplish this by using the JSR 198 standard for Java IDE plug-ins, which is awaiting final approval by the Java Community Process.

Approval is a foregone conclusion, as the JSR-198 expert group includes all the major Java household names from Borland to BEA, IBM, Oracle, SAP, and Sun. Even the Apache foundation is involved.

In effect, Matisse won't become part of MyEclipse, which itself is an IDE plug-in to the Eclipse framework. Instead, it would become a separate plug-in to Eclipse, and thereby interoperate with other Eclipse plug-ins (including, obviously, MyEclipse)

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