Google has donated two open-source Java tools to the Eclipse Foundation to join the popular IDE suite in 2011.
The tech giant’s WindowBuilder and CodePro AnalytiX were part of Google’s acquisition of Instantiations in August this year. By September, Google had relaunched some of Instantiations’ tools as open-source software.
One of those tools was WindowBuilder, a WYSIWYG code generator. This drag-and-drop, bidirectional GUI designer for Java played nicely with a variety of frameworks, including Swing, XML Windowing Toolkit (XWT), the Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT) and more. With support for Windows, Linux and Mac, the Eclipse extension was intended to make Java app creation a lot simpler and faster.
And CodePro is another interesting Eclipse plugin for “comprehensive automated software code quality and security analysis.” The toolkit included features from EclipsePro Audit and EclipsePro Test and generally attempted to improve code quality, maintenance and readability.
Instatiations’ execs estimate the software, which is slated to roll out with the rest of the Eclipse June 2011 release train, is worth around $5 million.
Google’s emphasis on Java tools is hardly surprising; the blockbuster success of the Android platform (and sometimes harsh criticism of the Android Market of apps) has practically mandated a focus on Java, which is a big part of the Android stack. Giving devs better Java tools free of charge is an investment in the future of Google’s own platforms.
That’s not to say either of these Eclipse extensions is, in itself, going to be directly used for Android applications; we’re not sure either tool is intended for mobile development. But better tools make better Java devs, who in turn are better equipped to make more and better Android apps.
We would, however, love to see more drag-and-drop, WYSIWYG-plus-code Android app tools — something along the lines of a less-dumbed-down App Inventor. If you know of any such tools, definitely let us know about them in the comments.
Reviews: Android, Android Market, Eclipse, Google, Linux, Windows
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