New name, new platform

Eclipse widget toolkit RAP 2.0 goes universal

Chris Mayer

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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