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Jonathan Erickson

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Microsoft Snuggles Up to Eclipse

March 19, 2008

Did I hear that right? Microsoft is supporting Eclipse? "Supporting", that is, as in clearing the way for the Eclipse Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT) to use Microsoft's Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Apparently what's up Microsoft's sleeve is a way to make it easier for Java developers to write applications that have a Windows Vista look-and-feel. SWT is a Java toolkit that provides portable access to UIs of multiple operating systems.

"We're committing to improve this technology with direct support from our engineering teams and the Open Source Software Lab, with the goal of a first-class authoring experience for Java developers," says Sam Ramji, director of Microsoft's Open Source Software Lab. He went on to add that "It just makes sense to enable Java on Windows. We started a collaborative effort with JBoss two years ago that continues to this day. At the end of the day, it's all about the developer. There will be more to come from the conversations that Eclipse and Microsoft have begun, and I look forward to announcing those in the future as we have demonstrable technology results."

All in all, this is a small step -- but an important one, particularly if Microsoft wants to encourage the perception that it is an "open" company. What's next? Eclipse plug-ins for Visual Studio? Now that would be cool.

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