Electronic Design

Without a doubt, the open-source Eclipse version 3 has made a thunderous impact on the embedded development scene. It's rather surprising for a not-for-profit product that's making lots of money for vendors and developers alike. Such success comes from its cost cutting and provision of a non-discriminatory, extensible development platform. Plus, the plug-in architecture is well documented.

In addition to its quality, Eclipse's openess is responsible for its marked influence this year. Major vendors are switching to it so they can deliver their core expertise without dedicating resources to create, maintain, and document a proprietary delivery platform.

The latest version of Eclipse reaches the necessary plateau for professional development teams. Major plug-ins and technology also accompany the release, including the C/C++ Development Tools (CDT) and the Rich Client Platform (RCP). A smaller embedded RCP is also in the works.

Eclipse is more than an embedded developer's delight. It can handle Web platform development, too. The Device Software Development Platform (DSDP) project addresses target management and device debugging. Just keeping track of all the available options is a full-time job.

Eclipse is a free download, as are many of the available plugins. But most embedded developers will take advantage of Eclipse implementations from vendors they already trust. These vendors often incorporate plug-ins that integrate their tools and products, such as operating systems and debuggers. www.eclipse.org

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