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Eclipse SOA Tools Project update with Eric Newcomer

Back in January, talked to Iona Technologies Inc. chief technology officer Eric Newcomer shortly after the first committee meeting for the Eclipse Foundation SOA Tools Project (STP). As the STP committee prepares to make a progress report at EclipseWorld in Cambridge, MA the first week of September, we asked Newcomer for a preview. In the first of this two-part interview, he discusses how the work has been organized and the progress that's been made. In part two, he will discuss underlying technologies including the SCA standard, JAXWS runtime, other runtime, and where Ajax may eventually fit into the project. Read part two

What is the current status of the Eclipse SOA Tools Project?
Right now the project is really focused on plumbing and the integration between the subprojects within the SOA Tools Project, and integration between the SOA Tools Project and the other related Eclipse projects including the Web Tools Project, Data Tools Project and the Test and Performance Tools Platform Project. Once that plumbing level gets completed, we'll be looking at the next level which is a visual way of modeling the services or the SOA design. When the 'plumbing' is done, what will you have?
We expect to have a comprehensive toolset which includes the ability to design, deploy, assemble and manage services. The way the project is going, we're starting with how you create, assemble and deploy. The next phase after that will be how you design visually the services you want to implement What is the initial focus?
Iona is leading the project and we are working on integrating the various bits and pieces either of new code or contributed code from some of the other participants to get a service creation and deployment working end-to-end. So the initial focus of the project is to get the plumbing working where we can create a service, implement it as an SCA component type and then deploy it on JAX-WS runtime. We will be supporting other runtimes in the future, but the initial go-around with this is to get a service developed and created through Java and in particular JAX-WS, using SCA component type to deploy it into an SOA system. This is the starting point of the project, to make sure things are working as they should be. Besides Iona, who are the other committee members contributing to the project?
At the moment we're working with code from IBM, Sybase and Iona, but there are other contributors to the project including BEA, Intalio and ObjectWeb. How is the work organized?
The project contains subprojects, in particular it has a core framework which is where the SCA component types live. It has an SOA system subproject, which is where the services are assembled, packaged and deployed. We have service creation subproject where the services are actually created. So the initial work is to get these subprojects to a point where they're working with each other for an end-to-end service creation assembly and deployment. How does this fit into the overall organization of Eclipse?
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Actually we do have some general time frames. The most important one is that we want to hit the next major Eclipse release which is scheduled for mid-2007. Eclipse Foundation has settled on a yearly release where all the projects are released together. The SOA Tools Project has the goal of being ready in time for the next major release of Eclipse. Will there be a technical preview before that?
We hope to get an interim drop out before the end of this year. Would that be something developers could start to experiment with?
Absolutely. It would be downloadable and somebody could kick the tires and give us some feedback.

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