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MyEclipse and You - A Discussion With Jens Eckels

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MyEclipse and You - A Discussion With Jens Eckels

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MyEclipse is one of the most popular commercial distributions of Eclipse, and has recently released their Blue Edition targetted at WebSphere developers. Genuitec has been in business for 12 years, launching MyEclipse in 2003.  I decided to find out more about MyEclipse, and what it provides for developers over the standard Eclipse downloads by meeting up with Jens Eckels,  primary evangelist for MyEclipse and other Genuitec products. Here we discuss MyEclipse, Pulse and  EclipseCon.

James Sugrue: For those who might not know, what does MyEclipse provide that you can't get from standard Eclipse distributions? 

Jens Eckels: This is a bigger question than you might think. Over 300,000 man-hours have gone into MyEclipse to provide innovative differentiators between our product and the base Eclipse platform. For example, WYSIWYG visual designers for Web, JSF and others are of great value to many customers. Our suite of Web Service tools (including RESTful service tooling that is the best in the Eclipse space) is unmatched. The hot-sync deployment feature of MyEclipse has ALONE been shown to save the average developer almost 250 working hours per year (a HUGE savings in time and money at an average of $11,000/year). Our Hibernate/Spring functionality has long been one of the most lauded features. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. A full list of the features in MyEclipse is found here. Our goal is that any single feature of MyEclipse is worth the entire purchase price. And of course, that price is as low as an almost-free $30.


Sugrue: Could you explain what Pulse is? How does it help Eclipse based tool deployment? 

Eckels: Pulse is rapidly becoming a de-facto mechanism to manage your Eclipse installations. The hours and dollars spent trying to debug environments and solve compatibility woes are innumerable. On the team front, these issues are expanded when you factor in environment sync, version standardization, the list goes on. Pulse is free for individuals and only $6/month/user for teams. For the individual, you can create your profiles/configurations once and use them anywhere - even port them between OS environments. For teams, the low cost can be recouped in a matter of minutes. Imagine getting a new team member on the right tool configuration, correct preference settings and working in the same workspace as the rest of the team in 5 minutes. It's completely possible with Pulse.

Most recently, we've released Pulse Private Label that allows you to control software catalogs, manage builds, QA and distro to customers in one easy tool that is customizable to be consistent with your company. This version of Pulse will have 500,000 to one million installations within 12 months in some of the largest companies you've heard of. And it's not an IDE distribution only. These are real, high-quality corporate applications getting distributed to end-users.


Sugrue: What is the most popular feature set within MyEclipse? 

Eckels: This is a tough question, as the most important feature is the one that matters most to individual users. I can say historically, our most popular features have been the hot-sync deployment, database tools, integrated Tomcat server, Ajax tools, Hibernate/Spring functionality and Web Service tooling.


Sugrue: MyEclipse Blue edition seems pretty complete for the WebSphere developer. Can you tell us a little more about it? 

Eckels: Blue Edition is becoming a very compelling tool. I was asked recently by an analyst if it was really a good time, considering the economy, to be pursuing competition with IBM on the tool front. I feel it's a PERFECT time. When we look at the marketplace, we see contraction. Fewer tools providers, the death (or perhaps near-death) of VC funding, and tightening of budgets across the board. To provide a tool now, that is 96% less expensive than Rational and providing practical feature-to-feature competitiveness, it seems like a nice time to give Blue a try. And of course, it comes with a money-back guarantee, so it's risk free.

So, the business case for Blue is clear. As far as the technological details, it's really a practical 1:1 ratio with RAD at this point. Companies have the ability to begin using Blue Edition in tandem with RAD on the same projects (whether new or legacy) without harming existing infrastructure. The latest version of WebSphere (7) and it's technology advances are all supported. In a calendar year, we've taken MyEclipse and tailored it to service the WebSphere developer community on a technological par with WSAD or Rational. That's no small feat, and one that I'm proud of our guys for accomplishing.


Sugrue: What can we expect from MyEclipse in the next few months? Have you any interesting new plugins set for inclusion with MyEclipse?

Eckels: We're exploring a few compelling additions to the MyEclipse tool suite in the coming months. While not all of them are public yet, we are looking at rounding out some of our current features to finalize capabilities, as well as some all-new feature sets. I can't tip my hand right now, but there is a user survey for what our customers would like to see in MyEclipse here (http://www.myeclipseide.com/Poll-10.html). We'd like to invite participation from the community to get as much input as possible. After all, MyEclipse is your Eclipse.

We recently partnered with nWire to provide discounts and availability through our Pulse product. Details on that partnership are here.


Sugrue: Genuitec recently released Webkit for SWT. What does this give to software developers? 

Eckels: WebKit for SWT provides the first Java implementation of the WebKit framework, with Swing support planned in the near future. But the real consequence is that developers can immediately begin to embed standards-based Web functionality into both desktop and mobile applications. As mobile browsing is now ahead of "traditional" browsers in terms of overall usage, we're likely going to see more and more Web-based and native/Web hybrid application in the coming years. This allows developers to get a start on that immediately. All of the "sexy" features of WebKit are also included, such as HTML5, CSS3, V8 engine, Flash, etc.

We'll be demonstrating some new tooling at EclipseCon that allows developers to see some of the possibilities building off of WebKit. I think we'll cause some jaw-drops.


Sugrue: So you will you be at EclipseCon? Are there any talks that you are looking forward to? 

Eckels: We will proudly be at EclipseCon as a Silver Sponsor. We'd love to see anyone in attendance swing by the booth and say hello. We're also giving a talk on Mobile development and the Eclipse Blinki (formerly FireFly) project on Thursday that we'd love to see you attend. As for the talks we're specifically looking forward to, there are a few on mobile development that should be interesting, some Ajax talks to choose from and of course the late-night BoFs are always a great time to informally discuss development and industry issues. All-around, it'll be a great conference!

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