The Web Tools Platform team is getting ready for their 1.0 release. We are issuing a press release on Monday about the release.
Tim Wagner is the PMC leader of the WTP project. I had the chance to chat with Tim last week at the Eclipse council meetings. He agreed to answer some of my questions about the WTP release.
Some people will say WTP 1.0 is late and of low quality. Do you think it is fair?
Tim: The WTP project was rebooted just over a year ago and BEA joined to lead the project in March. Given the depth and breadth of features involved, in WTP delivering a 1.0 release in December of 2005 was still a huge challenge. The 0.7 release was very helpful in driving us toward stability, but to have attempted to declare APIs at that time would have been a mistake, given the intervening changes to the project model. Do we still have challenges? Certainly – stability, scalability, meeting the needs of adopters – this is still a 1.0 release, and we’ll be working on all of those areas for the 1.0.1 service pack in February and again in 1.5 as part of the “Callisto” release train. Feedback, and help, are always appreciated.
The PMC for WTP seems pretty large with representatives from competing J2EE suppliers? How do things get done?
Tim: Wouldn’t it be fun to watch a PMC meeting that was a knock-down battle of corporate self-interest? The boring truth, however, is that they’re generally cooperative and decisions are often unanimous. The WTP PMC is large by Eclipse standards, but it functions well – we have enough people to work on different tasks simultaneously (build issues, requirements gathering, IP checks) which is helpful with a project of this size and complexity. We also appreciate that the different PMC members bring a useful diversity of opinions – large and small companies, ISVs and integrators, commercial and open source concerns – to the table, which in my mind translates to a better representation of our users and adopters. One issue that *could* have been controversial – which new technologies to include in WTP – is conveniently addressed for us by our project charter, which stipulates that WTP must focus on standards-based languages and runtimes; technologies outside our charter can be addressed in technology projects. Finally, the PMC members are united by their interest in making Eclipse, and WTP in particular, succeed – and that means we sometimes have to check our respective corporate affiliations at the door for the good of the community.
What is next for WTP?
Tim: In the short term we’ll have a service pack (1.0.1) in February, a couple of weeks after the platform ships 3.1.2, to address any critical issues with the 1.0 release. After that is Callisto – the release train in late June with the platform and a number of other projects, including WTP, shipping for the first time in a coordinated fashion. WTP’s focus for Callisto will be on working well when integrated with all the plugins from the other projects and adopting the 3.2 platform API changes. Time permitting, we’ll work on additional project refactoring support, prepare for Java EE 5 and annotation-based tooling, continue to improve performance and stability, and update the version of various web standards that we support. The more help we get, the more we can tackle, so extra hands mean more features!