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New Eclipse “Mobile Tools” Project

August 23rd, 2009

Eric Cloninger of Motorola has started the process of combining Eclipse Mobile Tools for Java, Eclipse Tools for Mobile Linux and Eclipse Pulsar projects under one combined project.  Although the specific name has not been decided yet, a leading candidate is simply the “Eclipse Mobile Tools” project.  In Eric’s presentation to members of the various projects he mentions a number of compelling reasons for pulling these projects together:

  • The TmL project contains components that are useful on many mobile platforms, not just Linux. As the primary contributor to TmL up to this point, Motorola desires to expand the scope of the project to support other mobile platforms.
  • The MTJ project contains some components that could be valuable to all mobile developers, not just those who use Java ME.
  • Code for Eclipse Pulsar was placed in the MTJ repository due to timing issues. Since the Pulsar developers also work on MTJ, it seemed a reasonable location. There is a need for a more suitable and permanent location for this work.
  • A new project, focused on the needs of all mobile developers has momentum, as previously seen from the excitement around Pulsar. By removing the artificial barriers of “Linux” and “Java”, we hope to provide a home for all Eclipse mobile developers.

It is easy to understand Motorola’s motivations in making this move, given their transition to the Linux-based Android operating system for many of their upcoming devices.  With that said, I do believe that this move is truly beneficial to the mobile development community.  While developers have to deal with the plethora of mobile device platforms and the associated fragmentation, consumers really only care about the results of development.  The more that the tools can help developers bridge the gaps between the various platforms, the easier it will be to get applications into consumer’s hand no matter what their device.

In many ways, this is a natural extension to my original goals of making EclipseME support all JavaME devices no matter which vendor provided those devices.  Of course, JavaME’s role in mobile devices has diminished significantly in recent years, so it makes a lot of sense to broaden the scope to other platforms.  For more information, take a look at the presentation or drop by one of the project mailing lists.

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