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Spring Tool Suite: Next-Gen JEE Development

Interface21, developer of Spring application framework has announced that it will partner with Tasktop Technologies, creator of the Eclipse Mylyn project, to develop the Spring Tool Suite, an integrated set of tools featuring Mylyn's task-focused user interface for building enterprise Java applications. The suite will allow teams of developers to more easily manage very large applications by emphasizing the relevant portions a developer is working on, with more-graphical, more-easy to navigate views, while minimizing the parts of the structure that aren't relevant in that particular context.

The Spring Tool Suite will include support for:

  • The latest Spring 2.0 features, including namespace-based configurations;
  • Spring Web Flow, including an extension to WTP's XML editor for content assist, hyperlinking, validation, and graphical editing;
  • Tools for Spring Aspect-oriented programming based development, including support for validating configurations and visualization of cross cutting references;
  • Spring Java configuration.

    Mik Kersten, founder of Tasktop Technologies and technical leader of the Eclipse Mylyn framework explained the benefits of the collaboration: "This partnership is marrying Interface 21's expertise in middleware and all the hardcore framework components, and Tasktop's expertise on the "'glass,' on the UI layer and the IDE," he said, "The workflow just becomes dramatically easier because of the innovations that we've been putting behind the Mylyn project, which will now be extended to enterprise applications with Spring."

    Rod Johnson, founder and CEO of Interface21 described the combination as a logical next step in Java development. "Key innovations don't come along that often. Ten years ago Java IDEs were very primitive, and frankly, I was doing most of my Java development with a really good text editor. Then we had the next-generation technologies, like the Eclipse platform that allowed really sophisticated refactoring, understanding of the semantic model of Java applications. Mylyn is the logical next step, where you move even further past that. You're looking an environment that understands what you need to do as a developer. I think there very significant productivity benefits when that environment can also understand the middleware framework and platform you're using."

    The partners plan to continue co-evolve both Spring Tools Suite and the open-source projects that it's built upon, thereby avoiding the pitfall of having tool development lag behind the advances in the Java language and libraries. "There's been so much innovation going on around Java enterprise application development," said Mik, "Because we're going to be working very closely and we're going to have both the framework and tool people in the same room, we're going to be able to innovate much more quickly on the tool level."

    For Interface21 subscription customers, the Spring Tool Suite will assist in training as well as in application development. The suite will contain training materials embedded along with Mylyn-based task contexts to walk through building Spring applications. The user interface will automatically trigger wizards and create projects, displaying only the parts of the JDK, Spring Framework and so on that are relevant to what you're learning. Mik explained, "Just like task contexts right now link up your issue tracker and the resources and files in your workspace, we're going to be able to link up your training with the new things you're creating and add that into your workspace, so you're not lost after going through a full-day training session."

    Following a tradition for Interface21 releases, the Spring Tool Suite is slated for release on the first day of spring, March 21, 2008. A schedule for preview and beta releases will be announced in December. For more information, visit tasktop.com and interface21.com.

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