Microsoft is going deeper into the open source world by joining the Eclipse Foundation, a non-profit organization that hosts several open source projects.
As Shanku Niyogi, general manager, Developer Division at Microsoft wrote in a blog post, “Joining the Eclipse Foundation enables us to collaborate more closely with the Eclipse community, deliver a great set of tools and services for all development teams, and continuously improve our cloud services, SDKs and tools.”
When I asked Microsoft how the foundation and its members will benefit from the company's participation, a spokesperson told me via email that “Microsoft has important development platforms for the Eclipse community, and interoperability is essential. Joining the Eclipse Foundation will enable us to drive deeper collaboration with the Eclipse community to continuously improve our cloud services, SDKs and tools to better serve these important developers.”
Microsoft already offers several Eclipse-based tools to customers, including Azure Toolkit for Eclipse, Java SDK for Azure and Team Explorer Plugin. The company plans to offer more tools and services specifically for Java and Eclipse developers. It will also contribute an Azure IoT (Internet of Things) Hub Connector to Kura, an Eclipse project that offers a Java/OSGi-based container for M2M applications running in service gateways, to easily connect gateways running Kura to the Azure IoT Suite. Microsoft is also adding Azure Java WebApp support in the Azure Toolkit for Eclipse so customers can run Java Web apps in Azure very quickly.
In addition, Microsoft is open sourcing the Team Explorer Everywhere Plugin for Eclipse on Github, under an MIT license.
What value does Microsoft see in open sourcing tools like Team Explorer Everywhere and others? A company spokesman told me that “Microsoft’s open source strategy is grounded in the recognition that interoperability is a lever for business growth, in the cloud and on mobile devices. This involves enabling open source applications to run better on our platforms, as well as delivering great Microsoft experiences to other device platforms. Some examples of tools Microsoft has open sourced include the .NET Core development platform and Visual Studio Code. Today we participate in more than 2,000 projects on GitHub and CodePlex.”
Microsoft is attending the EclipseCon event to directly engage with the Eclipse community. They are also running a Java Tools Challenge for developers to create a Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) extension that helps developers create, test and deploy Java apps or to create a Java app using Visual Studio Team Services Eclipse plugin (aka Team Explorer Everywhere) or JetBrains IntelliJ plugin.
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