.NET cloud on the Eclipse horizon

New Improve plug-in

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

The prospect that a vital element of Microsoft's .NET will debut in a Java IDE has come a step closer.

A plug-in that connects Microsoft's Corp's C Sharp programming language with the Eclipse Framework has been built by Puteaux, France-based Improve SA. Eclipse is built in Java's Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT).

Improve is believed to the first such plug-in for C Sharp. Improve said it meant developers could now experiment in C Sharp, Microsoft's Java-like programming language, without buying the Visual Studio.NET development environment.

"You have to buy the product [Visual Studio.NET], which can be quite expensive if you just want to test C Sharp and the .NET framework," said a posting on Improve-Technologies.com's web site - part of Improve.

News of Improve's plug-in surfaced as it emerged Eclipse.org has completed the second version of its framework. No announcement has yet been made, but Eclipse 2.0 supports speedier performance, internationalization and an increased number of platforms.

Eclipse is now available on Sun Microsystems Inc's Solaris 8 (SPARC/Motif), Hewlett Packard Co's UX (HP9000/Motif), real time operating system QNX (x86/Photon), IBM's AIX (PPC/Motif), Red Hat Linux 7.1 and SuSE 7.1 (x86/GTK 2), Red Hat Linux 7.1 and SuSE 7.1 (x86/Motif) and Windows 98, ME, 2000 and XP.

Additional language support is also in the pipeline this year. Eclipse was recently joined by - among others - Fujitsu. That company is developing a Cobol plug-in for Eclipse due in the third quarter, taking Eclipse beyond Java and C/C++. Until then, though, there is Improve.

Having submitted its plug-in to Eclipse, a third-party can now potentially build Improve's technology into a commercial product. The innovation is especially valued as Improve partners with IBM on its WebSphere application server.

Previously, IBM had speculated to Computerwire on the potential for a member of the Eclipse community to develop a C Sharp plug-in to Eclipse. Such a plug-in would enhance IBM's position as a cross-platform web services player.

The WebSphere IDE is founded on Eclipse and has traditionally been a Java tools suite. The addition of C Sharp could - theoretically - enable IBM to plant a foot in both camps, assisting companies with mixed environments.

The Improve plug-in offers an advanced text editor that enables developers to discover C Sharp and develop and build simple applications. Features include a C Sharp code editor, C Sharp code compilation and C Sharp plug-in parameters.

The plug in has been developed under Windows and tested using Microsoft's C Sharp compiler and tested under Linux (Debian Woody with motif). Improve said developers couldn't use the compilation features unless their C Sharp compiler passes parameters in the same way as Microsoft's compiler. This is not the case with Mcs in Boston, Massachusetts-based Ximian Inc's open source alternative to .NET - the Mono Project.
© ComputerWire

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