The Eclipse platform provides developers with an elegant architecture, a native looking user interface, and an easy-to-use help system. By utilizing a common framework for developing applications, developers can focus on addressing the specific requirements of their application.
Because it is based on an OSGi-compliant component model, the system allows for
dynamic component discovery and loading, as well as easy updating and extension. This
reduces the time, costs and skill needed by developers to implement user friendly, rich applications.
The minimal set of plug-ins needed to build a rich client application is collectively known
as Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP).
The RCP is characterized by good interoperability with other technologies, being scalable
from desktop computers to embedded devices, having a wide cross platform support and providing a high quality end user experience.
The core itself is formed by the following elements:
• Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT): Platform-independent API that
is tightly integrated with the operating system’s native windowing environment.
• JFace Toolkit: Platform-independent user interface API that extends and interoperates
with SWT, includes a variety of components and utility classes.
• Eclipse/OSGi Runtime: Provides the foundation for plug-ins, extension points and
• Generic Workbench: Multi-window environment for managing views, editors,wizards, preferences, etc.
On starting a RCP application the Eclipse Platform Runtime discovers which plug-ins are
available and creates the plug-in registry. Although the platform registers all plug-ins, they are not loaded until first usage, a mechanism called lazy loading. This prevents the program from storing all plug-in related information in memory during runtime, which is especially useful for RCP applications consisting of many plug-ins. Each plug-in in a RCP program declares its dependencies to other plug-ins and controls the visibility of its classes and libraries.
The Eclipse RCP is a very powerful framework for building rich client applications. It ensures good integration with the host environment, by providing a native look & feel, a sophisticated window management and being highly customisable using editors, plug-ins and wizards.
Key new features in the Ganymede release include:
The WTP JSF Tools Project has added features to improve web application development productivity.
The new SCA Designer provides a graphical interface for developers who wish to create composite applications using the SCA 1.0 standard.
The Policy Editor is a collection of editors and validators that makes it easy for developers to construct and manipulate XML expressions that conform to the WS-Policy W3C standard.
RAP 1.1 extends the API to include new features such as MouseEvents for SWT, ImageDecorators for JFace and it also incorporates new capabilities such as enhanced security and alpha-shading for widgets.
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