The Eclipse Foundation, which develops open source programming tools for developers, has rolled out what it says is a next-generation development platform that leverages the cloud, containers and a plug-in framework in the form of Eclipse Che.

Eclipse Che is the organization's newest open source Integrated Development Environment, or IDE. It brings some interesting innovations to the table, including:

  • Development projects that use Docker containers to provide high portability.
  • A cloud-based IDE environment that is accessible from any Web browser -- a nice convenience compared to the tedious process of having to install a development app locally.
  • Compatibility with any type of programming language. "Create runtimes from Che’s image and stack library, pull from DockerHub, or author custom images with Dockerfiles," Eclipse says.

As an app, Eclipse Che is primarily of interest only to the programming community. But the new platform is also interesting from a channel perspective for two main reasons. First, it brings the cloud into a space where it has not been widely used before. To be sure, cloud-based IDEs, such as Cloud9, are not a new idea. But none of the existing offers are as tried and true as Eclipse, the gold standard of open source IDEs. Eclipse Che is therefore breaking new ground by moving everything to the cloud.

Second, the container element is interesting because it is an example of how Docker is being used for real-world purposes. There has been much talk about Docker and other containers, but less adoption, especially because of the perception that the container ecosystem is not yet completely mature. Eclipse Che has provided an example of how developers can leverage containers in the cloud now.