New name, new platform

Eclipse widget toolkit RAP 2.0 goes universal

Chris Mayer
eclipse-rap1

The veteran Eclipse project moves beyond the browser to support new clients.

Six years on from its first major release, Eclipse’s widget
toolkit RAP has
received a long-awaited bumper 2.0 upgrade, as well as a brand new
name

The project, which debuted in 2007, allows developers to build
modular rich browser or desktop applications using technologies
such as JEE and OSGi.

However as version 2 represents a move beyond the browser, the
project has ditched the Rich AJAX Platform name in favour of Remote
Application Platform. Described as “a universal platform for remote
applications,” with a heavy focus on mobile applications, RAP 2.0
supports additional clients and a set of new APIs to distinguish
between them.

The 1.x series lacked the protocol to connect the client and server
objects of a RAP widget. Migrating the entire platform to JSON
gives RAP flexibility to create native clients for mobile devices,
through fellow EclipseSource project Tabris.
The Java-coded mobile framework allows developers to write Cocoa
Touch widgets in iOS, Java-based widgets in Android or HTML5 in a
browser.

The introduction of a Client API shows which client is connected to
your application and how to get the most out of the services it
offers. Other additions include a Java and JavaScript API to create
custom widgets, a built-in Server Push API and a UI designer, to
enable enterprise customers to create the front-end of an
application if they wish.

It’s a long overdue update for an Eclipse stalwart that needed to
embrace other platforms to reflect developers’ changing needs. With
such a big upgrade, migrating to RAP 2.0 creates several breaking
changes so the team have produce a
migration guide
to avoid issues. An update is also
expected in line with Eclipse Kepler in June.

You can
download RAP 2.0
here. Check out the New and
Noteworthy
post for the most important changes, as well
as Project Lead
Ralf Sternberg’s series of articles
explaining the rationale
behind some of RAP 2.0’s newest features.

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