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Microsoft to work with Eclipse on Java

Although Eclipse competes with its Visual Studio business, Microsoft's Sam Ramji says a joint project will let Java Eclipse developers write native Windows Vista GUIs.

Microsoft will begin collaborating with the Eclipse Foundation to improve native Windows application development on Java.

Sam Ramji Microsoft

Sam Ramji, the director of Microsoft's open-source software lab, announced at the EclipseCon conference in Santa Clara, Calif., on Wednesday that the lab will work with Eclipse .

The goal of the joint work, which will include contributions from Microsoft engineers, is to make it easier to use Java to write applications that take full advantage of the look and feel of Windows Vista. Ramji wrote about the planned collaboration on Microsoft's Port25 blog.

"Among a range of other opportunities (which we're still working on), we discovered that Steve Northover (the SWT team lead) had gotten requests to make it easy for Java developers to write applications that look and feel like native Windows Vista. He and a small group of developers built out a prototype that enables SWT to use Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). We're committing to improve this technology with direct support from our engineering teams and the Open Source Software Lab, with the goal of a first-class authoring experience for Java developers," he wrote.

The move builds on several initiatives coming from Microsoft's open-source software labs to ensure that open-source products work well on Windows and other Microsoft products.

The interoperability work from the open-source lab continues to rise in prominence at Microsoft. Last month, the company's top executives rolled out a number of interoperability initiatives only a few days before international delegates considered a vote to standardize Microsoft's Open XML document format.

Eclipse, which has become the most popular development environment for Java, is the biggest competitor that Microsoft faces to its Visual Studio developer tool line. With the exception of Sun Microsystems, most other large software companies have committed to using Eclipse in some way.

"It just makes sense to enable Java on Windows. We started a collaborative effort with JBoss two years ago that continues to this day. At the end of the day, it's all about the developer," Ramji said.