Eclipse Foundation Brings Java IDE to Kubernetes

The Eclipse Foundation this week made good on a promise to couple Java and Kubernetes more tightly, with the release of the Eclipse Che 7 integrated development environment (IDE).

Announced at the Oracle Code One conference, Che 7 promises to make it easier for millions of existing Java developers to build cloud-native applications based on containers.

Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, says one of the things that has been holding back adoption of Kubernetes in the enterprise is a lack of familiar application development tools. Che 7 provides centrally hosted private developer workspaces that make it simple to share and manage development projects. Che 7 also comes with a pre-packaged web-based IDE based on an extended version of Eclipse Theia software, to provide an in-browser Visual Studio Code option for building applications.

Milinkovich says Che 7 also will increase the rate at which new cloud-native applications based on Java are being built because the IDE reduces the amount of time and effort required to build and maintain the developer environment, which in turn leaves more time to focus on business logic.

While the number of programming languages used to build applications has expanded greatly over the past decade, Milinkovich says anyone who thinks Java might be dead is mistaken. Java is still the most widely relied-on programming language being used to build backend enterprise applications. The front end of those applications might rely on, for example, JavaScript, but all the backend services and business logic continues to be written in Java, he says, noting that a variety of new frameworks also are making Java more accessible to a larger pool of developers.

While most developers may know two or more programming languages, most of them continue to rely on one for building different classes of applications. It’s also worth noting that Java is still a corporate standard within most enterprise IT environments. It’s not clear to what degree existing Java applications might be moved on to a Kubernetes platform as part of an effort to lift and shift them into the cloud, but at the very least more sophisticated business applications spanning multi-cloud computing environments should start to appear next year.

To facilitate that transition, the Eclipse Foundation, as the steward for Java and Jakarta Enterprise Edition (EE), plans to devote a lot of resources to helping Java developers better understand how to build cloud-native applications. As part of that effort, the Eclipse Foundation last week made Jakarta EE 8 Full Platform and web profile specifications and associated technology compatibility kits (TCKs) generally available. That open source platform eliminates the need for vendors that build development platforms for Java to pay a royalty fee to Oracle. At the same time, Jakarta EE eliminates any concerns about having to rely on a proprietary Java virtual machine (JVM) platform.

Of course, it remains to be seen how much open source Java and Kubernetes platforms might be greater than the sum of their parts. That said, soon there may be a lot more developers putting that equation to the test.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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