Welcome!

Eclipse Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, XebiaLabs Blog, Ken Fogel

Related Topics: Eclipse, Java IoT

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) View Comments

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.


Most Recent Comments
obinna kalu 10/21/05 01:04:24 PM EDT

Oh yes!!! The Eclipse WTP toolset has been such a fantastic breath of fresh air to the development of enterprise web applications for the java platform. I downloaded and trialed the version 0.7 stable release last July 2005,and I must say it was simply brilliant. Having wondered, in the preceeding months, where to find a good, non-commercial IDE for doing java web development and having been managing with sysdeo's tomcat plug-in and other plugins that do some quasi html/xml tag coloring, discovering WTP 0.7 was a big blessing. I look forward to versions 1.0 and subsequently 1.5 with great enthusiasm.

Eclipse News 10/19/05 08:39:49 PM EDT

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.'

Rui Wang 08/30/05 10:41:38 AM EDT

Hello,sir.I'm a developer from China.I like your article.However,what does EDJ mean?I really don't know.Can you tell me?Thank you

Serge Baccou's Blog 07/21/05 06:04:48 PM EDT

Trackback Added: Eclipse Web Tools Platform (WTP); Eclipse Web Tools Platform (WTP) extends Eclipse for web developments and/or J2EE developments. WTP is useful for people who develop web sites or J2EE applications using Eclipse. This note presents WTP but also talks about WST, JST, EMF, XSD, SDO, GEF ...

Eclipse News Desk 07/18/05 12:57:38 PM EDT

Eclipse.Org Exclusive: Web Tools Platform And J2EE Development The Eclipse Way
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.'

Eclipse News Desk 07/18/05 09:32:44 AM EDT

Eclipse.Org Web Tools Platform: J2EE Development the Eclipse Way. 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.'

@ThingsExpo Stories
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2017 New York The 7th Internet of @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Chris Matthieu is the co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, a revolutionary real-time IoT platform recently acquired by Citrix. Octoblu connects things, systems, people and clouds to a global mesh network allowing users to automate and control design flo...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Unsecured IoT devices were used to launch crippling DDOS attacks in October 2016, targeting services such as Twitter, Spotify, and GitHub. Subsequent testimony to Congress about potential attacks on office buildings, schools, and hospitals raised the possibility for the IoT to harm and even kill people. What should be done? Does the government need to intervene? This panel at @ThingExpo New York brings together leading IoT and security experts to discuss this very serious topic.
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.