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Eclipse popularity dips after Juno 4.2 platform release, survey finds

Chris Mayer
Juno

Eclipse’s annual report shows the open source foundation has plenty of work ahead of Kepler.

After last year’s
bungled Juno release
, the Eclipse Foundation face a real
challenge with their upcoming release train, Kepler, to win back
the trust of developers.

The latest
Eclipse Community Survey
shows a number of concerns ahead for
the open source foundation, mostly surrounding adoption and
popularity. Only 56% of those asked are using Eclipse 4.2, the new
platform packaged with Juno which ran afoul of severe performance
issues, with an additional 12.9% using Eclipse 3.8.

“Eclipse 4.2 seems to be quite slow compared with
Indigo,” noted one respondent, while another said simply: “Stop
adding features and make it faster”.


Ian Skerrett
, Eclipse’s Marketing Director, believes the slow
uptake is “most likely the result of the performance issues found
in Eclipse 4.2.” This in turn may explain the slump in developer
satisfaction, with only 81% of those surveyed being either very
satisfied or satisfied with Eclipse. In 2012, this figure was 90%.
Skerrett adds that the results were “not very good news” and hopes
both will be “addressed as the Eclipse 4.x platform continues to
mature.”

Survey results suggest Eclipse face an uphill battle
with Orion, the foundation’s web-based IDE which was first appeared
in 2011. When asked about their opinion on IDEs such as Orion,
Codenvy or Cloud9, 36.7% of those surveyed claimed to not know
enough to form an opinion, while 35.4% said they had no interest at
all.

Despite the sample being heavily enterprise users, it
does suggest that it could be an uphill struggle for Eclipse to
convince developers to move to the browser. Skerrett said “early
days” but he does believe the results show a greater need for
web-based IDE “education and evangelism” to change perceptions.

It’s a similar story for cloud. 47% said they had no
plans for deploying applications to a cloud infrastructure, which
is only marginally less than two years ago (52.7%). However, mobile
development is definitely on the minds of Eclipse developers, with
only 22.4% without plans to develop applications for mobile devices
in the foreseeable future.

In the
Eclipse annual report
, published alongside the survey, the open
source foundation says its second strategic goal is to advance
Eclipse technology on high-growth platforms such as web, cloud and
mobile.

While placing faith in new technologies, with Orion
and the number of machine-to-machine projects, may help Eclipse
stay relevant, it seems that a good number of developers in
Eclipse’s community are struggling to see the benefits, at least at
present.

Although the number of active projects has dropped by
twenty in the past year, now standing at 177, along with the number
of committers, the number of commits has risen sharply.

Other interesting tidbits from the survey show that
Java is still dominant, with 67% of respondents using it as their
primary language. Maven has finally overtaken Ant as the build tool
of choice, with 41.3% of developers using it compared to 38.3% of
those opting for Java’s older command-line tool. Continuous
integration server Jenkins lies in third with 35.3%.

In regards to source code management, Subversion
continues to cling onto top spot with 37.8% of developers using,
but has lost further ground to Git at 30.3%. This year, Github was
given its own category, attaining 6%. Combined, Git and GitHub are
right behind the older software control system.

The
entire survey results
are available in ods and xls format
should want to find further insights. Comments from the survey are
also
public
[Excel file], with some particularly strong comments
about 4.2, showing the community are really turned off by the next
generation platform.

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