Easy money

Kickstarter campaign aims to improve the Eclipse IDE for Java

Lucy Carey

‘EasyEclipse for Java’ effort looks to offer a streamlined Java IDE and funding model for the Eclipse open-source ecosystem.


Kickstarter campaigns are ten a penny, but just occasionally, one pops up that catches our eye: this week, a new initiative launched to fund EasyEclipse for Java – an effort summarized as “Streamlined Java IDE + Funding model for the Eclipse open-source ecosystem”. Or in other words, improving the Eclipse IDE for Java.

The Kickstarter was instigated by Pascal Rapicault v, who is an active committer and leader of several Eclipse projects, including Equinox p2 (or PDE). For any of this to actually go live, the team needs to drum up a mere 120K Canadian dollars.

With 41 days to go, they’re at $1,892 – but it’s early days yet. As Pascal notes, other IDEs have succeeded in part thanks to loyal communities. In ‘bootstrapping’ the project with this money raising drive, he’s also testing the waters to see how much interest there is from Eclipse users at large.

This project won’t be free or open source, but the EasyEclipse team are committed to funnelling some of the money generated by license sales into paying EasyEclipse personnel and OSS committers to improve open source components (as shown by the image below).

Pascal hopes that given the project remit to alleviate Eclipse “annoyances” (e.g things like inadequate preferences and lack of coding templates) users will be more than happy to spend on license cost and save on wasted time and angst down the line.

The EasyEclipse outline states that the technology will aim to integrate with the following technologies: Java (with support for Java 8), Maven and Ant, Git, SVN, and CVS, and XML, HTML and CSS. Although there is currently support for GIT, CVS, XML,Maven, HTML and CSS tooling within Eclipse, EasyEclipse will streamline the integration of these components, and improve them where needed.

Slated functionalities in EasyEclipse will include a launcher bar to give a fast and reliable way to access the most frequently used views, a “one-stop-shop” global search function, a minimalistic toolbar and cleaned up menus, and a feedback plug-in to make it simple to send feedback and error logs.

Overall, the objective isn’t about adding fancy new additives to what’s already there. What Pascal wants to do is fix the performance and stability issues within the ecosystem. He writes that; “With this model everybody wins. Not only are you getting a good tool and a direct line to the developer building it, but you are also helping improve the overall Eclipse ecosystem.”

Of course, it’s not a given that EasyEclipse will make it off the starting blocks, but if it does become a success, it could indeed have implications for the Eclipse IDE. IntelliJ and NetBeans have made significant gains in capturing developers who are looking for an all-out alternative to Eclipse, with both free and paid models.

It’s this user-drain that’s helped prompt a proposal for the formation of an Eclipse IDE Working Group, with the hope being to “ensure future relevance of the Eclipse IDE by providing sustainable funding for developing of the Eclipse IDE, and directing use of that funding towards long term improvements to the IDE quality and functionality.”

And yet, many people still remain loyal to “the old war horse” Eclipse. It’s these frustrated but loyal users of the traditional Eclipse IDE the project is honing in on. Ultimately, any gains that EasyEclipse makes on the back of the former’s failings tightens the screws on Eclipse to up its game – and that’s good news for everyone in the ecosystem.

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