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Eclipse Che - A boost for the software community

As any developer will tell you, even though IDEs have been a godsend for a while now, there hasn’t been much development on that front. Many developers are actually still relying on very traditional IDEs such as Visual Studio, Eclipse, and IntelliJ. While they may be powerful, they are definitely not designed to take advantage of emerging technologies. Given that current software development is trending cloud native, it follows that our IDEs must be too.

Enter Eclipse Che. The idea behind Eclipse Che was born when Tyler Jewell, CEO of Codenvy, was attempting to set up a simple Java project when he was working on getting his coding skills back after some time away from hands-on coding. After multiple days of struggling, Jewell just could not get the project to work. That’s when it hit him. He wanted to make it so that "anyone, anytime can contribute to a project without installing software".

That in a nutshell is Eclipse Che. It provides an open source solution to running an Eclipse-based IDE in a container-based cloud environment and it provides several advantages, namely scalable workspaces, extensible and customizable plugins for different run times, and a smooth collaboration experience for team members.

Since Che is a server application it can be accessed by multiple developers at once. Hundreds of developers or users are able to log into Che and collaborate at the same time without the need to install software, which is often required for the largest teams and enterprises. Right now, Eclipse Che implements a “last-write-wins” policy when multiple users modify the same file. In a future release, multi-cursor visuals might be included to enable collaborative multi-user editing of a single file, further improving and optimizing collaboration between a large number of developers.

Workspaces in Eclipse Che also come bundled with an appropriate runtime stack and serve their own IDE, all in one tightly integrated bundle. All a developer has to do before starting a project is to pick the correct stack when creating a workspace. The ready-to-go bundled stacks included with Eclipse Che cover most of the modern popular languages, like C++, nodeJS, Python etc. A Stack Library provides even more options and if that is not enough, there is the option to create a custom stack that can provide specialized environments. An SDK is also provided to enable custom plug-in development, further improving extensibility. To top it all off, each workspace also contains agents which provide services like SSH access, monitoring and remote debugging for the user.

The Eclipse Che project includes contributions from more than 20 companies including CodeEnvy, Docker, IBM, Red Hat, and Samsung. While a web-based IDE might turn some people off, Eclipse Che undeniably has a lot to offer. With many big names in the industry involved, it is worth checking out for your business needs.

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