The Eclipse Foundation envisions a future where software is written within a browser. While the Eclipse Orion project has already produced a Web-based IDE for JavaScript, HTML and CSS, today the Eclipse Foundation announced the Eclipse Cloud Development project, an effort to bring even more of the software development tool chain into the browser.

The ECD project includes code contributions from SAP, IBM, Codenvy and Pivotal. SAP is contributing Dirigible, a proposed project to build Rapid Application Development tools based in the cloud and browser. Codenvy, on the other hand, has contributed Che, an expansive Java IDE and server-side provisioning system designed to push Java development into the cloud. IBM’s work has been on the Orion side of the spectrum, and Pivotal is working on project Flux, an effort to bridge the gap between desktop and cloud-based development tools.

Tyler Jewell, CEO of Codenvy, said that Che includes a large portion of his company’s core infrastructure, all now open source.

“Codenvy has many layers: the kernel for running extensions, the extension SDK, about 55 extensions we have built, a cloud IDE, enterprise infrastructure to run the system at scale, and the Puppet infrastructure for installation & maintenance updates. We have donated everything but the enterprise infrastructure and the Puppet infrastructure to Eclipse Che. It is our hope to also donate the enterprise infrastructure once the initial Che releases have been properly vetted,” said Jewell.

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Che is named after the village in Ukraine where the Codenvy team lives. Their work is currently available under the EPL, said Jewell. “It is available now. It has been converted to EPL and it is currently going through the Eclipse licensing process. While in incubation, it’s available for developers to compile and run at It will be moved to Eclipse’s systems soon.”

Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, said, “There’s a definite trend in pushing developer tooling toward the cloud. This has been something we’ve all been observing for a couple of years, and there are, at the moment, a lot of different solutions in the cloud editing, cloud IDE space. Those of us who are old enough to remember there was once a time when there were 40 desktop IDEs out there, probably, like us, think the industry is heading toward another similar and inevitable consolidation.”

Milinkovich said this move to the Web won’t come at the cost of existing desktop tools, however. Specifically, Project Flux is designed to offer a way for developers to connect such tools to the cloud and the browser. “There has been 30 years of investment in our desktop tools. It’s important to have the ability to integrate desktop tools with Web-based tools so you an use the right tool at the right time.”