The Eclipse Foundation will soon be unwrapping the first release of Swordfish, an open source Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) run-time framework that's taking aim at the market's many proprietary approaches to SOA.
Swordfish enterprise service bus (ESB) is built on existing standards like OSGi, JBI, and SOAP with the goal of creating a open, industrial-strength platform for SOA projects.
Eclipse's jump into runtime puts the foundation into more direct competition with companies like Oracle, IBM and Microsoft, as well as a multitude of smaller providers. Eclipse already shook up the development tools market by offering a free and open source toolset — can Eclipse pull off the same with SOA?
Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, thinks so, but cautions it will take some time. He believes the herd will naturally be thinned as the market matures, but he doesn't yet see enough momentum from customers seeking fewer implementations of SOA.
The foundation argues that having so many proprietary approaches to SOA has been counterproductive and slowed its adoption.
Eclipse hopes Swordfish can be the open source framework to spear the market's big swimmers together. The first release of Swordfish 0.8 will be available for download the first week of April (from the project's home page).
Meanwhile E4, the next version of the Eclipse platform is planned to ship early access in Summer 2009. A final release will arrive summer 2010, according to Milinkovich.
On the table for E4 is improved usability and integration with other development environments like Flash and Silverlight. Eclipse aims to address complaints that the menus are too complex by making the UI more in tune with web development kits. Another goal is to simplify building applications on top of the Eclipse platform.
"Right now, there's a lot to learn before you can really become good at it," said Milinkovich. "It will become easier with a web-based approach."
Milinkovich said there are currently 50 contributors to the project. Presently 16 are from IBM, which has historically led the project's core platform team. ®