First off this is quite a geeky post I suppose but bear with me – there’s a nice screenshot at the bottom of the post…
The Eclipse foundation is busy developing Eclipse 3.4 which is what will form the base for Notes 8.5 Standard. At least that’s what I’m hearing since the new Expeditor platform is based on Eclipse 3.4. Why should you care as a Notes developer? Why because each release of Eclipse adds significant performance improvements and many new features are added to the underlying platform. While we cannot know which features has already been ported to the Expeditor platform which is the base for Notes 8(.0.1) Standard it is at its core based on Eclipse 3.2.2.
Lots of features has been added since Eclipse 3.2.2 was released (Eclipse is currently at Eclipse 3.3.2) and many of them could have big impact on you as a developer or a Notes user. Why you say? Because the features of Eclipse will directly affect the platform support available to you if you develop SWT plug-ins or if you just use Notes 8 Standard (and don’t we all). Below is a sample list of improvements in Eclipse 3.3 I compiled from the “New and Noteworthy” documents for Eclipse 3.3M1 to 3.3M7.
- SWT on Vista (win32). SWT now gets everything right on Microsoft Vista
- Faster JPEG/PNG image loading. JPEG images now load from 30 to 70 percent faster, and PNG images load 2 to 3 times faster, depending on the image.
- New DateTime control. Your users can now enter dates or times using the new DateTime control. You can see the DateTime control in action on the DateTime tab of the SWT ControlExample. The ControlExample is included with the other example plug-ins (see the “Example Plug-ins” section of the 3.3M3 download page).
- Mozilla everywhere. Mozilla can now be used as the underlying browser control on Windows and OS X, providing that you have XULRunner installed and registered. To use this just create your Browser with the SWT.MOZILLA style.
- Native features on Vista (win32). SWT is now exploiting more of the native features of the Vista platform. For example, using native double-buffering on Vista win32 makes painting in double-buffered canvases twice as fast.
As you can see some of them could have big impact on you as a developer or user. Everything from better Windows Vista integration to using Mozilla as the embedded browser to just having a DatePicker control could be the difference that makes it worth it.
I’m not saying it is so but that last one could be why I’m having problems with the Sametime screen capture tool on Vista.
As to Eclipse 3.4 I also just perused the “News and noteworthy” documents for the Eclipe 3.4 milestones (M1, M2, M3, M4, M5) and there is some nice stuff in there as well such as the possibility of setting an alpha value for shell (ie. the underlying SWT control for windows). This could make for some killer UI’s. Below is an example screenshot.
Can’t wait to have a much more mature Eclipse platform as the basis for my Notes client.