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MyEclipse 4.0 Up On Deck: Exclusive Interview With Maher Masri, President, Genuitec

The 4.0 version of MyEclipse is Nearing Release

Eclipse Developer's Journal: What is MyEclipse and what's unique about the Enterprise Workbench?

Maher Masri: The goal of MyEclipse is to provide a comprehensive, practical, low-cost and fully integrated enterprise development tool suite that anyone can afford to use around the globe.  MyEclipse Enterprise Workbench is the first commercial J2EE IDE plugin suite for Eclipse offering an enterprise-class platform and tool suite for developing J2EE and web applications.   

MyEclipse is unique in offering:

1)    User-centered J2EE and web development features with a primary focus on enterprise development productivity
2)    Low cost, subscription-based pricing
3)    A corporate commitment to provide the best technical support in the IDE tools industry.

With over 140,000 registered members, our customers are the source of our inspiration and the driver for our quality product and the agile delivery schedule.  Our customers play an active role in prioritizing features through forum feedback and interactive polls.  It took our customers a little while to realize the flexibility of the low cost, subscription-based pricing model and to appreciate having the freedom to choose an IDE without a lengthy selection process and or having to make a total commitment to a particular tool.   Nearly free, the MyEclipse $29.95 annual subscription entitles members full access to all releases and updates as well as free on line support.  Customers are free to choose an alternative to MyEclipse at any time, since there's no large expense to justify, which gives us the motivation to continue adding feature and capabilities indefinitely. 

EDJ: What are your plans for advanced Java5 features?

MM:
We are really excited about the Java5 support in the recent Eclipse 3.1 release. Our biggest challenge has been, and continues to be, striking the right balance for exploring emerging technologies and standards while addressing immediate customer needs.  MyEclipse has provided XDoclet support for well over a year and we are looking very closely at annotation support for EJB and Hibernate capabilities. Our upcoming Hibernate VisualMapper will provide an option to support Java bean mapping through annotations.

EDJ: How much of your toolset (JSF, etc) is integrated in the WebTools project (WTP)?

MM: We have been involved with Web tools from the very beginning and continue to play an active role on the WTP requirements team.  MyEclipse was the first commercial Eclipse-based product to extend early Web tools features and bring enhanced capabilities to our user base.  MyEclipse has employed a branch of the WTP based on IBM's initial contribution for over a year and contributed significant improvements to the codebase back to the Web tools project.  MyEclipse makes heavy use of the WebTools structured editor and validation frameworks to provide advanced editors for JSP, XML, HTML, Javascript, and CSS editing.  MyEclipse 5.0 planned for late fall '05 will be an upgraded architecture based on an enhanced version of the WTP 1.0 since we expect the WTP APIs and reliability will be stabilized by then.

EDJ: What features are supported in the MyUML modeling suite? Which diagrams
etc. Does it work on the mac??

MM: MyEclipse UML provides a seamless modeling experience with enhanced Java round-trip engineering features between any number of Java projects. We designed MyEclipse UML with the goal of providing the most efficient Agile Modeling environment available. This strategy provides the user complete control over the diagrams in a Java project, their level of detail, and if and when Java code and UML models are synchronized. Users can create class diagrams simply by drag-n-dropping Java classes from Eclipse views onto UML diagrams. The Java forward generation features will automatically recognize your Eclipse Java code format and organization preferences and apply them during the code generation process.  MyEclipse UML offers:

- Fully integrated UML tools into MyEclipse platform
- Diagrams include: Use-case, Class, Collaboration, Activity, State, and Deployment
- Uis/Views include: UML Perspective, UML Diagram Editor, UML Outline View, UML PropertiesView
- Full round-trip engineering
- Reverse-engineering support of UML models from Java project source code

    -- Batch process at the following levels: Java project, source folder, package, class
    -- Drag/drop Java classes/interfaces from Eclipse view to any class diagrams
- Consistent styling for classes and Interface details using familiar Eclipse Java class styling
- Forward generated Java code honors your Java coding style preferences
- Export diagrams in popular image formats
- Ability to Print diagrams
- Auto layout option
- Customizable display

While most of MyEclipse's graphical design tools operate on Windows, Linux and Mac, the UML tools only operate on Windows and Linux due to a long-standing Eclipse SWT bug (#67384) that prevents SWT and AWT from interoperating on the Mac. We are actively working with the Eclipse platform team on this issue and hope it will be resolved soon.

EDJ: How well does MyEclipse support alternative J2EE technologies such as Hibernate and Spring?

MM: MyEclipse has had Hibernate2 support for over a year. The 4.0 release introduces a number of smart editors, wizards, and configuration tools for developing with Hibernate 3, Spring 1.2, and Tapestry 3. We have received very good feedback on these new technologies, contained in our milestone builds, from our user-base. And, while not part of ME 4.0, we are very excited about our upcoming Hibernate VisualMapping Editor that will be released in early fall.

EDJ:  What demand are you experiencing for Tapestry support?

MM: We began supporting Tapestry within the MyEclipse Enterprise Workbench starting with the first milestone release for 4.0.  The feedback from tapestry integration is that this addition has been very well received by our user base.  Our plans call for tighter integration going forward and we will continue to evaluate priorities based on customer feedback after the final release for MyEclipse 4.0

EDJ:
What is Genuitec's role on the Eclipse Foundation?

MM: Genuitec is a founding member of the Eclipse Foundation and for the last three years has been actively evangelizing Eclipse technology through numerous speaking engagements and magazine articles, including one written in early 2002 that became the genesis of the Eclipse rich client platform.  Additionally, Genuitec holds a seat on the Eclipse Foundation Board of Directors where we've recently been re-elected to a second term where we will continue to represent the needs of the Eclipse add-in provider community.

EDJ:
What are your future plans for MyEclipse?

MM: Our customers can count on two things from MyEclipse.  First, we will continue to deliver platform independent, standard-based products that will continue to be the best value on the market, at any price.  Second, despite tremendous strides thus far, we will continue to add more agile development features with continued focus on improving enterprise development productivity.  As such, technology targets for MyEclipse 5.0 and beyond include:

1.    Broader life-cycle development support for development management
2.    Advanced support for model driven architecture and data modeling
3.    Web services and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) support
4.    AJAX support
5.    J2EE reporting
6.    Advanced rich client design tools

More Stories By Bill Dudney

Bill Dudney is Editor-in-Chief of Eclipse Developer's Journal and serves too as JDJ's Eclipse editor. He is a Practice Leader with Virtuas Solutions and has been doing Java development since late 1996 after he downloaded his first copy of the JDK. Prior to Virtuas, Bill worked for InLine Software on the UML bridge that tied UML Models in Rational Rose and later XMI to the InLine suite of tools. Prior to getting hooked on Java he built software on NeXTStep (precursor to Apple's OSX). He has roughly 15 years of distributed software development experience starting at NASA building software to manage the mass properties of the Space Shuttle.

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