Eclipse Juno introduces Code Recommenders
June 27, 2012 —
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Say goodbye to the Eclipse 3.x branch. With the release train for Juno arriving today, Eclipse makes a big jump forward from version 3.8 to version 4.2. This release marks the switchover from the Eclipse 3.x branch to the 4.x branch, and brings with it some majorly refactored code.
Ian Skerrett, vice president of marketing at the Eclipse Foundation, said that the move to 4.2 comes after almost two years of work, during which time the community refactored much of the underlying code to make a more decoupled platform.
This decoupling allows for more customization of the platform as a whole. This means skins and themes can be brought into the platform for the first time. Skerrett said previous releases had attempted to make it easier to customize the look of Eclipse, but that these previous efforts weren't enough for the rich client crowd, who build applications on top of Eclipse.
Version 4.2 also includes the first release of Code Recommenders, a project out of the Darmstadt University of Technology that marks a significant upgrade from standard code completion. “So much focus now is on APIs,” Skerrett said.
“The Code Recommenders team has gone through a lot of the products on the Eclipse Marketplace and Maven Central and GitHub, and done an analysis of how those products use Eclipse and APIs. Then they use those analytics so that when you're in Eclipse, if you're starting to use a certain API, the code completion becomes much more intelligent. It'll say, 'Based on our experience of other people, if you use this API, the next one you will use will be this one, with 90% confidence.' It's like when you're on Amazon: People that bought this book also bought that book.”
For teams looking to work with OSGi, this release of Eclipse is the first since the release of the fifth revision of the OSGi spec, R5. To that end, the Equinox project is now a reference implementation for R5 as well. Meanwhile, Project Virgo, the open-source application server based on OSGi, has been updated in this release. That effort to make building with OSGi easier has produced new nanokernels, designed to have extremely small footprints on which it is said to be easier to build.