New Release

Eclipse Orion 0.5 hits second milestone and big features

Chris Mayer

Eclipse’s open browser-based platform may still be in incubation, but is well on its way to building success, as 0.5 M2 showcasing just what it has to offer

Since being unveiled at the beginning of 2011 as Eclipse’s dedicated web-based tooling platform, we’ve watched it grow over various milestones. Here comes another with Eclipse Orion 0.5 M2 designed to ease usability for those already warmed by its charms.

A little background info on Orion first however. With a decade of countless successes under its belt, Eclipse has grown far and away beyond its original intentions becoming the definitive Java IDE for many. But now it needs to tackle the new challenges for web tooling as many services, such as GitHub, CloudBees et al dominate the landscape by reducing IT overhead. Enter Orion, an entirely new codebase separate from Eclipse, positioning itself as a Tooling Platform for the Web, on the Web.

This time round, Orion’s recieved a partial facelift, making it all look that much sleeker. The Welcome page has gone, in preference for sending you straight to a redesigned Navigator page, as seen below. There’s a new Console page too, built entirely in client-side JavaScript which deals with tab completion, content assist and has integrated help.

Being user friendly was the target from the start with Orion, so the Navigator has changed slightly to make it more intuitive and aesthetically pleasing with new fonts. The checkbox selection model has been replaced with the new “extended selection model” whilst the inline actions menus have moved to the toolbar, reducing confusion between inline and selection actions. The left hand side now includes a helper section for quickly creating new kinds of content, speeding up the development process too.

Collapsible sections have been implemented and a new plugin is available to assist with externalizing strings in JavaScript. Finally, the Orion client has been ‘internationalized’ to make translation from English feasible. In partnership with the Eclipse Babel project, plans have been made to come up with a suitable message catalog format for JavaScript that is amenable to translation, bringing Orion slightly closer to being multilingual.

The signs are encouraging as Orion charges toward a full version. There’s still further treats in store we suspect. Orion 0.5 M2 is available on the Eclipse download page and you can go via OrionHub to register for the web version.

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