Eclipse Ecosystem

A blog devoted to promoting the Eclipse ecosystem

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chris Keene doesn’t get Eclipse…

...and therefore I don't think he gets Ajax either.

I feel bad for Chris -- I'm sure what he was trying to say made sense in his head, but it just came out as a spew of ignorant and defensive drivel. I would expect more from a CEO.

Chris has made the mistake of thinking of Eclipse as just the "champion of the heads-down Java server programming world" (sic) and missing everything going on around it. That's soooooooo 4-year-ago thinking.

Chris, there are two dimensions to Eclipse. The technology and the ecosystem.

On the technology front, there are over 80 projects with many great exemplary apps - he's stuck on one. Take a look at what's going on in the CDT project, PDT project and with DLTK. Chris mentions a goal of "democratizing development" -- he should look at the BIRT project whose primary interface is a pretty darned intuitive Report Builder, so simple even an MBA can figure it out. Yes, of course there is still lots of "Java server" programming projects but it often relates to OSGi. For example, the EclipseLink project - which is from the Oracle TopLink family. I'm sure Chris remembers TopLink.

Then there is the Ecosystem. Eclipse enables innovation networks. Look at the CDT project -- lots of contributors, lots of innovative products. Eclipse is a factor in many parts of the supply chain of the Embedded world because of it.

I would never be so arrogant to say "Ajax needs Eclipse" like Chris implies, but let's take a step back and generalize. Take a look at this slide on why the Software Development Model is broken. Hypothetically speaking of course, imagine if Chris's development team went off and spent god knows how long building useless "infra" with little or no differentiating value. Maybe in some relatively unpopular programming language with all kinds of gnarly embedded proprietary APIs that would be very difficult for his new hires and acquisitions to learn and extend. Meanwhile, Chris's competitors are competing on a common platform, building with well known tools and APIs (making hiring and acquisitions easier) and tapping into a developer mindshare that Evans says is over four million people. Seems like a more successful proposition.

Chris claims that Eclipse is an "evolutionary dead-end" from a "web 2.0" perspective. Tell you what - I'll report back in a year on the progress of the Members participating in the Eclipse Ajax ecosystem, and he can do the same for Active Grid, and we'll see who's ahead, and who's dead.

- Don

3 Comments:

  • At 6:50 AM, Blogger Ed Merks said…

    You're right Don, that was a really sad post that evokes pity more than anything else. The premise that almost anyone can build an entire web application with no deep technical skills is much like the AI-dreamworld folks were living in back when I was in university...

     
  • At 2:05 PM, Blogger ckeene said…

    @Don, when the only tool you have is personal attacks, all your blog posts look peevish. When the only development tool you consider is Eclipse, all development tasks look like Eclipse plugins.

    Eclipse is a great tool for highly trained developers. It is not a good tool for less skilled developers, people who are used to visual tools like MS Access, PowerBuilder, and Notes.

    I have no doubt that a year from now, the Eclipse ecosystem will be even more vibrant. I hope that its evangelists will also be a bit more open-minded!

     
  • At 1:42 PM, Blogger Peter said…

    What puzzles me is the idea that tools like PowerBuilder or DreamWeaver would be either more accessible to non-developers or "lightweight." I'm all for visual tools, but these apps are equally intimidating to beginners, and often with good reason -- they're huge and clunky, and often you can do more focused, elegant work in Eclipse. There are ways in which designers and developers alike are both used to dealing with huge apps with steep learning curves, but most of what I see is traditional biases toward certain designs, sometimes even when they're not the best tool for the job.

    And, for the record, I know designers who are very interested in Eclipse's evolution.

     

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