Welcome!

Eclipse Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Roger Strukhoff, 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) 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
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
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 @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed 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!
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
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, examined 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 is e...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.