BEA Executive Defends Decision Not To Join Eclipse

The director of developer marketing at BEA says joining the Eclipse Foundation would not be useful for BEA because the company has no desire to build its WebLogic Workshop tool on the Eclipse integrated development environment.
A BEA executive defended BEA's decision not to join the Eclipse Foundation in light of news that the Java software vendor is supporting third-party development of an Eclipse plug-in for Project Beehive.

BEA unveiled Project Beehive last month as a an open-source version of the application framework of BEA's WebLogic Workshop tool, which uses visual controls to build J2EE-based applications and Web services. BEA subsequently gave the project to the Apache Software Foundation, which now directs Beehive.

Next week at JavaOne, BEA, San Jose, Calif., plans to announce that Instantations, a development shop in Portland, Ore., will build a Beehive plug-in for the Eclipse framework. The plug-in should be in beta by the fall, with the final release available early next year.

Dave Cotter, director of developer marketing at BEA, said joining the Eclipse Foundation, an open-source project spun off by IBM in February, would not be useful for BEA because the company has no desire to build its WebLogic Workshop tool on the Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE).

Eclipse is widely used to bring disparate tools together in one IDE through a series of plug-ins to the environment.

"What's the point of joining Eclipse if you're not going to actively use the Eclipse framework," Cotter told CRN Wednesday.

BEA is intent on maintaining control over the Workshop GUI and its specific features, which link to the WebLogic software stack to facilitate development on BEA's application server, portal and integration server, Cotter said. To rebuild Workshop on Eclipse would mean relinquishing control over that intellectual property, and is not in line with BEA's overall direction, he said.

"Sure, we could throw Workshop code away and join Eclipse, but we have a lot invested in Workshop and a lot we want to do to drive our platform forward using [the tool]," Cotter said. "Controlling the code base and how we craft the IDE and having the Workshop code base as an asset [is the] easiest way and most efficient way for us to deliver on value-added features for our customers. Owning that destiny and direction makes a ton of strategic sense."

It is possible for companies to join the Eclipse Foundation without actually building their tool on the IDE. However, Cotter said BEA is not interested in this kind of membership.

BEA and IBM are bitter rivals in the Java application server market, so it comes as little surprise that BEA has not joined the Eclipse Foundation or used the Eclipse IDE, software created by IBM in November 2001 as a common foundation for multiple developer tools. The foundation became an independent open-source organization in February.

JavaOne 2004 kicks off Monday at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

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