Is Eclipse Che Really The Next Generation Eclipse IDE?

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Ever since the keynote at EclipseCon, Eclipse Che has taken center-stage, and is being touted as ‘Eclipse Che, the next-generation Eclipse IDE’.  This has, to say the least, annoyed some in the Eclipse community with the piggy-backing on the established Eclipse brand.

You could liken it a bit to how we have London Heathrow Airport: major, international, well-known and serves millions of people. Then along came London Luton Airport, a newer airport that anyone living in the UK knows very well is really not in London. However, some foreigners may not be so clear on that distinction and when they land might feel perplexed as they figure out how to make it to Buckingham Palace… But hey, London Luton is modern, has shorter queues and is investing a ton in transport links, new terminals, supporting new destinations etc. Meanwhile at Heathrow even getting a third runway built seems like an interminable venture. So who’s to say where things will stand in the future, but we can be sure there will always be someone pointing out that Luton is not in London…

OK, so airports aren’t IDEs and this analogy quickly gets to the end of its runway (badum-tish!) but the point is people are travelling to London rather than going elsewhere. So for the Eclipse community, isn’t it great to have renewed interest and a new avenue of investment that will bring new users and contributors into the community?

So like it or not, Eclipse Che, the next generation Eclipse IDE is here to stay, and our job is to help our community navigate the changes. When my clients ask about Che (which they do, often referring to it as ‘Eclipse Cloud’ or ‘Cloud IDE’), here are three things I tell them:

  1. Eclipse Che is the open source project with the most compelling cloud-IDE story yet. It has a major focus on ease-of-use by use of shareable workspaces that wrap up projects & all their dependencies including runtimes. As such it is a different beast to Eclipse IDE, with no established migration path (yet?).
  2. Che is on something like a 10+ year arc towards maturity, so all features mentioned are likely in a preliminary state and far from the rich support available in Eclipse IDE or RCP-based products today.
  3. There is major investment into Che from companies looking to build their cloud platforms. Adopters so far include Microsoft, SAP, IBM and Redhat. Also recently Samsung adopted it for its IoT IDE Artik.

Next generation Eclipse IDE or not, time will tell, but the reality is that it doesn’t really matter. There is no doubt for us that this is a good thing for the Eclipse community as a whole. Certainly for the Eclipse I know that is synonymous with commercially-friendly, innovative-tech & open-source goodness.

4 Replies to “Is Eclipse Che Really The Next Generation Eclipse IDE?”

  1. The “next-generation Eclipse IDE” wording is bold indeed, if not confusing, but at least they are contributing back some code that can be used by Eclipse itself, like ls-api (https://github.com/TypeFox/ls-api). This will be beneficial to Eclipse too, if we can capitalize on it.

    (And code re-use across Java IDEs is something that Eclipse has been traditionally very bad at, IMO. Looking at the code base, quite a few components and code could have been abstracted away from Eclipse dependencies, but are instead tied to OSGi or Equinox, the IResource model, or are just not refactored enough to be put into an utility library)

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