Eclipse Scout Roadmap 2016

For the 2016 release of the Scout framework we will introduce two significant changes. These changes address major pain points we have suffered from in the past. As the scope of the two changes is substantially larger than in previous releases, we would like to start talking about them well ahead of time. So remember in the text below that this is a blog about the future of Eclipse Scout scheduled for 2016, not about the upcoming Mars release. 

The first change is driven by our vision of the future of UI technologies for business applications. The second change addresses the need of our customers and BSI that Scout applications should be easy to integrate in a Java EE or Spring based environment. In the text below we will discuss these two changes individually.

A new HTML5 Renderer

The first change is based on our belief that the future of business applications mostly lies in the domain of web applications. In consequence, Eclipse Scout needs to provide the best possible web experience for the users of Scout applications. And to achieve this goal for the 2016 release, we already have started to write a new Scout web rendering engine, directly based on HTML5/CSS3 standards. Thanks to this substantial investment of BSI, Scout applications will comply with the new de-facto standard for web applications and will be able to take advantage of the latest web technologies in the future.

This decision also implies that future Scout web applications are no longer based on the Eclipse RAP project. At the same time, discussing this topic extensively with our customers, we found that their demand for the existing Swing and SWT rendering components no longer matches the necessary expenses to maintain these components. This is why we decided to discontinue the Scout SWT and Swing desktop rendering components after the Eclipse Mars release.

Eclipse Scout will become a Java framework

The second change affects the foundation of Eclipse Scout applications. Currently, Eclipse Scout applications are based on OSGi and the Eclipse runtime platform. In the past, we have addressed the challenge to integrate a plugin based application with Java EE technologies again and again. And according to some Scout customers, integrating the plugin based Scout server with Spring technology did cost them significantly more time than anticipated.

Observing the market and the need of our customers over the past years, we have come to the conclusion that Scout’s dependencies to OSGi/Eclipse platform did bring more harm than good to Scout projects. This is why we now started to implement replacements for familiar Eclipse concepts such as jobs, extension points and services.

As a result of this second change, Eclipse Scout applications will become standard Java applications that will seamlessly integrate with Java EE technologies and other Java frameworks, such as Spring. We also hope that this change will increase the adoption of Eclipse Scout in the Java domain.

What will stay the same?

Although the changes mentioned above may seem substantial, it is important to keep in mind that most aspects of the Eclipse Scout framework remain the same.

  • Scout will continue to be an Eclipse Open Source project.
  • The Scout SDK will continue to be based on the Eclipse IDE.
  • The existing Scout application model will (mostly) stay as it is.
  • Migration efforts for existing Scout applications will remain rather modest (with the exception of the rendering part for your custom controls, if any).
  • From the Scout developer perspective these changes will probably not feel exciting. But this is by design.
  • And to avoid confusion: The Scout Mars release will still be shipped with the known RAP, SWT, and Swing rendering components.

Your Feedback?

Whether you like these changes or are concerned regarding your plans for Eclipse Scout please let us know. Please contact us on the Scout forum. For discussions we have created separate topics. One for the new HTML renderer and another one for removing the Eclipse/OSGi dependencies.

If you prefer a less public channel for discussing these changes you can contact us by email to scout@bsiag.com. Your feedback is very valuable to us and we would like to find/discuss options if you have any concerns or questions.

More Blog Posts to come

  • History of Scout and its supported technologies
  • Current state of the new HTML5 rendering component
  • Progress reports on becoming a Java framework

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