Universities Join with Industry
On another fortuitous note, IBM-funded university partners have been adding to the Eclipse platform, too. One student at York University, David Makalsky, is working on using Eclipse as an Integrated Device Electronics (IDE) interface for the open-source version of Eiffel.
Unlike Java, Eiffel already supports genericity, which is generally defined as "the possibility for a language to provide parameterized modules or types, e.g. List(of:Integer) or List(of:People)." Genericity support is anticipated in Java 1.5. "But originally, Java goofed up, and left it out," according to Jonathan Ostroff, who teaches computer science at York.
Initially, York University wanted to build the IDE strictly within the open-source edition of Eiffel. "After we got started, though, we soon discovered that this would mean a lot of work. So we said, 'Let's try working with Eclipse.'"
Another of Ostroff's students, Ali Taleghani, is preparing a tool that uses Business Object Notification (BON), a graphical notation system that works with Eiffel in addition to Java, C++ and other programming languages. "Ali's tool lets you do architectural compiling seamlessly within BON," according to Ostroff.
For the future, York is pondering the creation of an Eclipse-based environment that will let developers choose between two approachesagile development and the OMG's Unified Modeling Language (UML)based on the needs of the particular software project.
"There seems to be a lot of controversy right now over how to design good quality software. Groups are evangelizing on each side," Ostroff remarks.