Eclipse Introduction
A Brief Introduction of Eclipse.

  New to Eclipse

Eclipse is an open source community, whose projects are focused on building an extensible development platform, runtimes and application frameworks for building, deploying and managing software across the entire software lifecycle. Many people know us, and hopefully love us, as a Java IDE but Eclipse is much more than a Java IDE.

The Eclipse Platform is written in the Java language and comes with extensive plug-in construction toolkits and examples. It has already been deployed on a range of development workstations including Linux, HP-UX, AIX, Solaris, QNX, Mac OS X and Windows based systems. A full description of the Eclipse community and white papers documenting the design and use of the Eclipse Platform are available at

For the programmer, if you encounter some difficulties, you can get support and contract with other user using bugs and newsgroups. Everyone is free to open bugs and ask questions on our newsgroups. There are also companies that offer commercial products built on Eclipse and Eclipse distributions. Many of these organizations are able to provide commercial level support.

  Eclipse Plug-in Architecture

Eclipse is an extensible platform for building IDEs. It provides a core of services for controlling a set of tools working together to support programming tasks. Tool builders contribute to the Eclipse platform by wrapping their tools in pluggable components, called Eclipse plug-ins, which conform to Eclipse's plug-in contract. The basic mechanism of extensibility in Eclipse is that new plug-ins can add new processing elements to existing plug-ins. And Eclipse provides a set of core plug-ins to bootstrap this process.

The Platform Runtime declares a special extension point for applications. When an instance of the Platform is launched, the name of an application is specified via the command line; the only plug-in that gets activated initially is the one that declares that application.

By determining the set of available plug-ins up front, and by supporting a significant exchange of information between plug-ins without having to activate any of them, the Platform can provide each plug-in with a rich source of pertinent information about the context in which it is operating. This context cannot change while the Platform is running, so there is no need for complex life cycle events to inform plug-ins when the context changes. A lengthy start-up sequence is avoided, as is a common source of bugs stemming from unpredictable plug-in activation order.

The Eclipse Platform is run by a single invocation of a standard Java virtual machine. Each plug-in is assigned its own Java class loader that is solely responsible for loading its classes (and Java resource bundles). Each plug-in explicitly declares its dependence on other plug-ins from which it expects to directly access classes, and controls the visibility of the public classes and interfaces in its libraries. This information is declared in the plug-in manifest file; the visibility rules are enforced at runtime by the plug-in class loaders.

  The History of Eclipse

Industry leaders Borland, IBM, MERANT, QNX Software Systems, Rational Software, Red Hat, SuSE, TogetherSoft and Webgain formed the initial Board of Stewards in November 2001. By the end of 2003, this initial consortium had grown to over 80 members.

On Feb 2, 2004 the Eclipse Board of Stewards announced Eclipse’s reorganization into a not-for-profit corporation. Originally a consortium that formed when IBM released the Eclipse Platform into Open Source, Eclipse became an independent body that will drive the platform’s evolution to benefit the providers of software development offerings and end-users. All technology and source code provided to and developed by this fast-growing community is made available royalty-free via the Eclipse Public License.

The founding Strategic Developers and Strategic Consumers were Ericsson, HP, IBM, Intel, MontaVista Software, QNX, SAP and Serena Software.

You can learn more about the structure and mission of the Eclipse Foundation by reading the formal documents that establish how the foundation operates, and by reading the press release announcing the creation of the independent organization.

For software licensing, website terms of use, and legal FAQs, please see our legal stuff page. Eclipse logos and graphics are found on our eclipse logos page.

  Online Resource

 Eclipse Official Site:


 Eclipse Platform Technical Overview:


 Notes on the Eclipse Plug-in Architecture:


 Eclipse Corner Articles: