Tooling for and on the browser

Eclipse’s browser IDE Orion showing steady progress in 1.0 M2

As the sun sets on the Juno release train, many in the Eclipse community are preparing for the arrival of 2013’s release train Kepler. Yet, one project, set to arrive in October has piqued the curiosity of the community.

Eclipse Orion, the foundation’s latest venture aims to create an web IDE, stocked with tools for developing with JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. It’s a completely separate outlet from Eclipse’s successful Java IDE - a new codebase, adopting the motto - ‘Tools for the web, on the web’.

The importance of the browser could no longer be ignored by the multi-faceted community, and 18 months work has gone into the project since it began beta testing. Back in June, the team launched Orion 0.5, giving web developers a taste of what the project could do. Far more than just being an aesthetically pleasing editor, Orion also has substance - its distributed plug-in architecture, a micro-services framework and reusable components help create a collaborative platform for web development.

Now, with the due date creeping into view, the Orion team have released a second (and likely final) milestone, indicating that they’re almost there.

You’d think with only a month to go that the focus would be on fine-tuning, yet the team have still found time to add some last-minute features. Amongst these; some extra JavaScript goodness (automatic wrapping and a revamped content assist), dynamic Git review and credential save functionality as standard, as well as customisable Editor themes.

The search function has been radically upgraded to include a fleshed out global search. It’s also possible to import a remote zip file into the environment automatically unzipped, which is pretty useful.

We’re pretty impressed with what Orion’s managed to pull off so far, as it makes its way into the home straight for 1.0. Head over to Orion Hub to learn more. If you’re interested in branching out into building rich client applications with that Eclipse flavour, it might be worth considering.

Chris Mayer

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