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New at Eclipse: On Asia, Android and Agile ALM

Last week I went to Eclipsecon 2012 in Reston, Virginia. I haven’t been to the event for a couple of years so it was great to catch up with so many friends and clients, and take the pulse of the ecosystem.

So what struck me about the State of the Eclipse Nation in 2012?

Firstly – the Asians are coming. The numbers are frankly pretty staggering. Over the last year Eclipse downloads have spiked, from 1.2m to 2m a year. Why? A lot of the new traffic is in Asia. While it shouldn’t surprise us that Samsung engineers are downloading Android IDEs like topsy, what did blow me away was a stat shared by Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse foundation- when he told us that while Germany used to be the main country for Eclipse downloads, recently Vietnam had caught them up. That’s right- Vietnam is now downloading Eclipse as much as Germany is. What follows? I would say this sounds like a pretty good leading indicator for investments in Vietnam.

So I mentioned Samsung and Android – certainly Google’s embrace of Eclipse for the Android IDE and SDK has been a massive filip for Eclipse. Every time a developer goes to Google for the IDE it sends them to Eclipse. Whatever you think of Java, Android is clearly a hot and growing market, and while Google faces significant challenges managing the ecosystem, the growth is undoubtedly good news for Eclipse relevancy.

I look forward to seeing whether the Eclipse Foundation can turn downloads into engagement though – anyone for a trip to Saigon? ready to brush up on your Vietnamese? We have yet to see the level of IP sharing and contribution from Asian companies that we have seen in the US and Europe, but that could be a matter of time. The opportunity is there for Eclipse to engage.

In Virginia this year Eclipse introduced a new sister event- the Agile ALM conference. Some of the content was outstanding – notably the keynote by client and friend of RedMonk Mik Kersten from Tasktop Technologies. Kersten managed to tie together the management theory of Peter Drucker and Devops Borat, as well sa plotting animated graphs of the Mylyn committer community’s evolution over time. The theme for Mik’s talk was the Code Social Graph

In my talk at the event I went over some of the same material but with a slightly different perspective. My argument is that for the next wave of PaaS, ALM will not be an option, but a core function. One of the most interesting companies in Java right now is Cloudbees (another client) precisely because its building out a PaaS based on Kohsuke Kawaguchi‘s Jenkins continuous integration server. We should use the opportunity of PaaS to kill Waterfall once and for all. While the Apache Software Foundation is making a play to be the natural home for NoSQL projects, Eclipse wants to bring the next gen ALM – which touches DevOps.

Check out the slides for my talk: Cloud First: On forking, forging and foraging

I don’t have all the answers by any means, but I do believe that the ecosystem is on to something. ALM is set to grow in importance as the cloud buildout continues, and it won’t look like traditional ALM.

disclosure: clients mentioned, paid my own T&E

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