Oh, yeah, and here's my vision

Ian pointed out that I actually didn’t state what my vision for Eclipse was. I noticed that after I posted, it was probably the wrong title for what I ended up writing. I’ll try again, maybe sooner than later, I’ll actually get my point across.

I do have a vision for Eclipse, or rather, Eclipse as an IDE. Eclipse is so much more these days, I really need to differentiate myself. I am an IDE guy. Eclipse started as an IDE, turned into a great IDE, let’s keep it that way. Maybe that’s my vision. Keep a good thing going with focus on stability and quality.

I also have a vision on where IDEs are going, and I mentioned that in a previous blog where I stated the prediction that the desire for software developers to write software using mobile devices will drive that vision. But in the end, I think it’s more than that.

This vision comes from watching the Google I/O keynote on Google Wave. If you haven’t seen it yet, do so. Whether Google Wave is the right technology or not, the workflows they present are the future. I have no doubt of that. And it’s all about collaboration, including real-time collaboration, through your web browser. And that let’s it run on any platform with a web browser, which is pretty much everything.

I was especially struck with the demo of the team working and commenting on documents. Everything becomes a document, or a Wave in Google’s terminology, and everyone can contribute to it. And it keeps track of who contribute what and when.

The first thing that popped into my mind, being the IDE guy, what if the document was a source file? Wouldn’t it be cool to post a source file for review, have people attach comments to it, maybe even edit it to propose changes, maybe even work on it together live? Pair programming accross the internet? Doesn’t that make sense in the global world we live in with software teams spread accross the world? Working in the same environment I do other collaboration. A bugzilla front end in Wave is a natural, integrated with my source in Wave, a truely integrated development environment?

Given that as a vision for IDEs of the not so far away future, how does Eclipse fit in. We have so much invested in making Eclipse a good IDE, I’d hope to keep as much as I can. And I think we can, removing the UI front end, which would be handled in Wave, and providing services that provide access to all the good information that our indexers and such provide. Even providing access to remote build and test machines to complete the edit, build, debug cycle. I think there’s a significant role for Eclipse there, and thanks to Jetty and the HTTP Equinox/OSGi service, we could do that today.

So that’s my vision, long and short. In the short term, though, I need to keep customers happy and try and convince new customers that Eclipse is right for them. And that’s where stability and quality are criticial. And that’s where I’m coming from. I’m Walt Mossberg, uh never mind :).