A few months back, after acquiring a company called Instantiations, Google began offering their suite of development tools for free. Instantiations' tools come as extensions for Eclipse and offer a GUI designer tool for creating GUI Java applications.
Google has now donated the source code and the IP for these products to the open source community, to be a part of Eclipse.
[RELATED_ARTICLE]As Mike Milinkovich, the Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation’s states, “this is clearly a significant new project announcement, and very good news for Java developers using Eclipse. It has been impressive to see the continued growth and popularity of WindowBuilder, as this product has always filled a much needed gap in the Eclipse offerings. We look forward to it appearing in an Eclipse release soon. We’re very pleased with Google’s generous support of Eclipse, and the Java developer community around the world.”
Eclipse is possibly the most popular IDE for developing Java applications, although it is flexible enough to be used with numerous other languages. It is also the base for applications such as Flash Builder (even Flash Catalyst) for developing Flex / Flash applications, Aptana for web development, Zend Studio for PHP development, and even applications such as RSSOwl, which is an RSS reader.
Google's code donation also includes CodePro Profiler, which can help developers optimize code by identifying performance issues. By Google's estimate, this code is worth $5 million. To support enterprise clients, Google has also identified companies that will offer commercial support for these products in their new open source form. You can find out more from Google's announcement of this decision.
With the source code for one of the most popular Java GUI development tools in the hands of the developers of one of the most popular open source Java IDEs ‒ and everyone else, that's what open source is really ‒ this is good news indeed for Java developers, who can use some with the recent uncertainty around Java.