How is Eclipse Two different from Orion and Che?

Eclipse Two: Answering the questions that count

Gabriela Motroc

Eclipse Two has received a lot of attention lately but some questions have still remained unanswered. In case you missed Doug Schaefer’s answer with regard to the difference between Eclipse Two, Che and Orion, here it is.

Eclipse Two has received a lot of attention lately after Doug Schaefer, Eclipse CDT project co-lead announced in a blog post in late 2016 that he is working on Eclipse Two, “the real next-generation Eclipse IDE based on Electron.” The announcement sparked a lot of questions, so we invited him to talk about Eclipse Two and what this project means in relation to the “good old” Eclipse IDE. Mr. Schaefer answered a few more questions with regard to the scope of Eclipse Two here.

How is Eclipse Two different from Orion and Che?

Cole Markham wanted to know the difference between Eclipse Two, Eclipse Che and Orion. The Eclipse CDT project co-lead replied that for him, Eclipse Two is a desktop IDE. Furthermore, “it really is a direct replacement for the classic Eclipse desktop IDE. Yes, it’s build using HTML, CSS and JavaScript as the GUI framework, but that’s not obvious to the user. It is an Electron app, just as Visual Studio Code is and we will leverage the native interfaces it provides as it makes sense. It is Chromium thanks to Electron so likely won’t run in other browsers and that’s OK for the most part.”

Mr. Schaefer admitted that he did consider Orion as the base for this but explained that it has many issues that turned him off from it. “And I believe, even the Electron version of it talks REST to a ‘server’ running on the node side. In Eclipse Two, custom elements we create make node.js calls directly,” he added.

And I still don’t get Che. It started as a Web IDE, but now they talk about “workspaces” and leveraging Docker. Again, Eclipse Two is a desktop IDE that you install like any other desktop app and it has full access to the local environment (except where we prevent it for security concerns, of course). The Che folk mentioned they were looking out for desktop IDEs to integrate with and I think we should be open to them doing that with Eclipse Two.

The creator of Eclipse Two revealed that one of the reasons why he decided to start this project is “the sheer number of IDEs out there right now.” He opined that “we’re losing the power of ‘I’ in IDE if every platform and language has their own development environments. We need something that would compel them to come back together like Eclipse classic once did,” Mr. Schaefer added.

At the very least, new IDEs need to plug into existing environments and work with artifacts created by others. Being opinionated about project structure, like Eclipse is, is a dead end. And no one has felt it more than the CDT community. What’s a C++ project? There is no answer to that question.

He also revealed that he chose Monaco (for now) because “it has a big focus on being a reusable editor. The API is very rich and it should be easy to add support for new languages, just as VS.Code is. Orion doesn’t seem to have that focus.”

SEE ALSO: “I want to use Electron as a vehicle to rethink the IDE experience”

How will Eclipse Two be different from Visual Studio Code?

Gulshan wanted to know the difference between Eclipse Two and Visual Studio Code so Mr Schaefer explained that “Two is an IDE where vscode makes several claims that it’s just a text editor. IDE’s go much beyond just text editing and provide integrations with many more tools than an editor does.”

I actually think vscode is trending dangerously away from their text editor mission and I expect it to be a full IDE at some point. At that point, it’ll become a competition as to who can provide the best IDE wrapper around a common text editor and build the best community of not only users and extenders, but also contributors.

When Cole Markham asked if it would make sense to extend Visual Studio Code, Mr. Schaefer answered that “we would have to fork VSCode to do that” and revealed that he is wrapping the code editor experience in a higher layer (the Pages) so he is “already beyond what VSCode is architected to do.” He also explained that Eclipse Two is not about “reimplementing the classic Eclipse IDE on Electron. It’s actually more about rethinking the paradigm. How would you build an IDE if you didn’t have the Workbench concept, if you were free to add pages that could be organized how you like, not as Views and Editors in a Perspective.”

Read the entire thread here.

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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