What do you want Eclipse 4.0 to be?

Well, in a very awkward move, the Eclipse Platform project has combined with the Eclipse Rich Ajax Platform (RAP) project to create a new “component” of the Eclipse Platform called “e4”. Apparently they have built a prototype of what the “next version of Eclipse” will look like. I’m a big fan of innovation, I just wish that the community was involved even earlier. And despite Chris zx’s claim, you involve people by reaching out to them, not just calling meetings and hoping people come.

The timing of this is probably what drove me off the deep end (and I made some pretty snarky comments on the planning council mailing list and I do apologize for that). You see, I have just given up on my attempt to support flexible projects for our CDT users. As a refresher, I was attempting to implement something like the way Visual Studio manages project files by allowing users to add files and directories from anywhere and to exclude others from showing up in the resource tree.

We had a lot of discussion on the cdt-dev list and I think we’ve concluded that the only possible solution is to modify the Platform to treat this as a first class feature instead of the crazy workarounds we were trying to do. There are quite a few features in the CDT that started out as workarounds for the Platform’s failings. It would make much more sense if we did them by fixing the Platform itself.

But then this “e4” thing came. I have no idea what it is technically. But from what I understand it’s an Ajax based thing, since the RAP guys are heavily involved in it. When I think of my vision of the next version of the platform, Ajax isn’t on my list. Visual Studio feature parity is. That’s what a lot of CDT users care about, including paying ones.

I hope that this new “e4” component/project/people are open to everyone’s vision of what Eclipse needs to be. At the very least this has opened up the can of worms and we can get this out in the open. Everyone who depends on the Eclipse Platform needs to participate. And that’s probably everyone. I’m not sure how it’ll work. But it is critical for Eclipse as a whole to ensure that it does work.