Welcome!

Eclipse Authors: Roger Strukhoff, Carmen Gonzalez, Lori MacVittie, Kevin Jackson, Mark R. Hinkle

Related Topics: Eclipse, Java

Eclipse: Article

Eclipse: The Story of Web Tools Platform 0.7

J2EE Development the Eclipse Way - Its Scope, Design Principles, Architecture, Ecosystem, and Plans

The Eclipse Open Source Integrated Development Environment (IDE) (see http://eclipse.org) is rapidly gaining popularity among Java developers primarily because of its excellent Java Development Tools (JDT) and its highly extensible plug-in architecture. Extensibility is, in fact, one of the defining characteristics of Eclipse. As the Eclipse home page says, "Eclipse is a kind of universal tool platform - an open extensible IDE for anything and nothing in particular." Although Eclipse is itself a Java application, all tools, including JDT, are on an equal footing in that they extend the Eclipse platform via well-defined extension points.

Of course, an infinitely extensible, but empty, platform might be interesting to tool vendors, but very boring for developers. Therefore, the initial version of Eclipse came with the JDT and the Plug-in Development Environment (PDE), both examples of how to extend the platform and very useful tools in their own right. JDT supported J2SE development while PDE supported Java-based Eclipse plug-in development. The combination of JDT and PDE fueled the creation of thousands of commercial and Open Source plug-ins for Eclipse, many of which supported J2EE development. For example, IBM released Eclipse-based commercial J2EE products, including WebSphere Studio Application Developer, and Rational Application Developer, while eteration, JBoss, Genuitec, Exadel, and Innoopract among others, released Open Source offerings. However, the profusion of J2EE plug-ins made it difficult for vendors to build on each other and for users to assemble an integrated suite of tools. For example, each J2EE toolset had its own way to support application servers.

As the popularity of Eclipse grew, it became apparent that the next logical step in its evolution was to add platform support for J2EE. This support would provide a common infrastructure for all J2EE plug-ins, with the goal of improving tool integration, reducing plug-in development expense, and simplifying the J2EE development experience for Eclipse users.

In June 2004, based on a proposal from IBM, the Eclipse Management Organization (EMO) agreed to create a new top-level project, the Web Tools Platform (WTP). However, it was believed that for WTP to be truly successful it needed a broad base of vendor support. A search began to engage additional vendors to partner with IBM. WTP was discussed in a BOF session at the first EclipseCon conference held in February 2004, and ObjectWeb agreed to lead the project creation effort. ObjectWeb assembled a set of vendors to join the project and agreed to co-lead the Project Management Committee (PMC). WTP was formally launched in June 2004 based on initial contributions from eteration, Lomboz, and IBM Rational Application Developer.

WTP got further industry endorsement earlier this year when BEA joined the project and announced plans to base a future version of WebLogic Workshop on it. BEA co-leads the PMC along with ObjectWeb. At this year's EclipseCon, Sybase announced the Data Tools Project (DTP), which will add to the data tools in WTP and create a platform layer dedicated to database access. Oracle and Borland also announced Eclipse projects closely related to WTP. With major vendors such as IBM, BEA, Borland, Oracle, and Sybase all co-operating on a shared Open Source tool infrastructure, the center of gravity for J2EE tools has clearly shifted to Eclipse.

WTP 0.7 development is now well underway and has released a series of milestone drivers that can be downloaded from http://eclipse.org/webtools. The final release of WTP 0.7 is on track for a July 2005 delivery. The rest of this article gives you an overview of WTP, its scope, design principles, architecture, ecosystem, and plans.

A Quick Tour of WTP
One way to understand WTP is that it extends Eclipse along two dimensions, namely execution environments and artifact types. The execution environment dimension defines where code runs. Out-of-the-box, Eclipse lets you develop Java main programs that run in a command shell, applets that run in a Web browser, JUnit tests that run in a JUnit runner, and ANT tasks that run in ANT. WTP extends Eclipse by adding servers in general, and both J2EE and database servers in particular, as new execution environments. In general, you need to install an execution environment, configure it in Eclipse, and associate it with development artifacts that you want to run in it.

The development artifact dimension defines what developers create. Obviously, Eclipse majors in Java source code as a primary development artifact. However other artifacts, such as PDE plug-in manifests and Ant build scripts, are also supported. Each artifact type has associated with it builders, creation wizards, syntax-aware editors, validators, semantic search extensions, and refactoring support. Eclipse users expect editors to provide first-class programmer assistance such as code completion, syntax coloring, error markers, and quick fixes. WTP extends Eclipse with support for the large set of new artifact types encountered in J2EE development. These include HTML, CSS, JavaScript, XHTML, JSP, XML, XSD, WSDL, SQL, and all the J2EE deployment descriptors.

One of the key design goals of WTP is to extend Eclipse seamlessly to support these additional execution environments and artifact types. All of the functions that Eclipse users have come to expect from Java source code should "just work" for the new artifacts. For example, if I select a Java main program, I can Run or Debug it. The same should apply to a JSP. When I select it, the Run command should do something sensible. Specifically for a JSP I expect the Run command to somehow deploy my code into a J2EE server and launch a Web browser with the URL for my JSP. Similarly, the Debug command should run my J2EE server in debug mode and the standard Eclipse Debugger should let me step through my JSP source code. My JSP editor should provide code completion for both JSP tags and inlined Java scriptlets. Furthermore, I expect the code completion for Java scriptlets to work exactly like the code completion for Java source files. I don't want to learn new editing commands simply because I'm editing a new artifact type.

WTP 0.7 achieves many of these goals but there is much work to do to support J2EE fully. Consider the problem of refactoring a J2EE application. An operation as simple as renaming a Java class can have many consequences. If the renaming isn't fully rippled through the application, a runtime error can occur. For example, in addition to references from other Java classes, a Java class can be referenced by JSPs and deployment descriptors. All of these artifacts must be updated to reflect the new name. Suppose the Java class is deployed as a Web Service and that WSDL is generated from it. The WSDL may also need to be regenerated. First-class refactoring of J2EE applications will be an ongoing focus for WTP.

Now let's create a JSP version of "Hello, world." If you'd like to follow along, you'll need to do some setup. Download and install the latest stable driver of WTP from the Web site mentioned above. WTP provides support for many popular commercial and Open Source J2EE servers but doesn't include the runtimes. So you also need to install a server on your machine. For purposes of illustration, I'll use Apache Tomcat 5.0.28, which you can obtain from http://jakarta.apache.org/tomcat/. Finally, you'll need a full JDK since JSPs require a Java compiler. I'm using Sun J2SDK 1.4.2_06.

WTP provides a Preference page for Servers. Open the Preference dialog and go to the Server page. Add your Tomcat 5.0 server and configure it to use your JDK (if you use a JRE then JSP compilation will fail). Figure 1 shows the Server Preference page.

Next, create a new Flexible Java Project named Project1 and a new J2EE Web module named Web1 in it. A Flexible Java Project is a J2EE project that can hold several J2EE modules. Figure 2 shows the J2EE Project Explorer after Project1 and Web1 have been created.

Now we're ready to create our JSP. Select the WebContent folder of the Web1 module and use the New File wizard to create a JSP named hello-world.jsp. The wizard fills in the skeleton of a JSP document and opens the file with the JSP editor. The JSP editor has full content assist for HTML and JSP tags, as well as Java scriptlets. Edit the file to say "Hello, world" and save it. Figure 3 shows the JSP editor.

More Stories By Arthur Ryman

Arthur Ryman is a Senior Technical Staff Member and Development Manager at the IBM Toronto Lab. He is currently the lead of the Web Standard Tools subproject of the Eclipse Web Tools Platform project. His previous development projects include Rational Application Developer, WebSphere Studio Application Developer, and VisualAge for Java. He is a member of the W3C Web Services Description Working Group and is an editor of the Web Services Description Language 2.0 specification. He is a co-author of the book, "Java Web Services Unleashed".

Comments (6)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that AgilePoint, the leading provider of Microsoft-centric Business Process Management software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 2nd International @ThingsExpo which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. AgilePoint is the leading provider of Microsoft-based Business Process Management (BPM) software products, has 1,300+ on-premise and cloud deployments in 25+ countries and provides the same advanced BPM feature set as J2EE vendors like IBM and Appian for the Microsoft .NET native environment. AgilePoint customer...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, has spent 16 years as a marketing, product management, and busin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TeleStax, the main sponsor of Mobicents, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TeleStax provides Open Source Communications software and services that facilitate the shift from legacy SS7 based IN networks to IP based LTE and IMS networks hosted on private (on-premise), hybrid or public clouds. TeleStax products include Restcomm, JSLEE, SMSC Gateway, USSD Gateway, SS7 Resource Adaptors, SIP Servlets, Rich Multimedia Services, Presence Services/RCS, Diame...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: Samsung recognizes that true, accelerated innovation cannot be driven from one source, but requires a...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
SYS-CON Events announces a new pavilion on the Cloud Expo floor where WebRTC converges with the Internet of Things. Pavilion will showcase WebRTC and the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices--computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems Group, will discuss how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, senso...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics...
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He will discuss opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and tec...
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.