Eclipse IDE for Education
The Eclipse IDE for Education is a stripped-down version of Eclipse specifically intended for use by university and college students. The environment provides support for programming languages that are commonly used in university courses, including Java, Scheme, and Prolog.
- To provide an Eclipse IDE streamlined for the needs of university students
- The IDE is as small as possible; only absolutely-required components are included. This includes download size, as well as runtime footprint.
The Eclipse IDE for Education, being constructed as a component under the Eclipse SOC project, is a streamlined integrated development environment (IDE) which supports different languages used by first year students. The initially targeted languages are Java, Scheme and Prolog development.
Scaled down versions of Eclipse for Java development have been done in the past. One such version was produced by the GILD project. However, it is no longer supported, with its last release done on January 3, 2006, and intended for use with Eclipse version 3.1. Another version is Penumbra. It is plug-in developed at Purdue University for use in their introductory programming classes. It was intended to ease the transition to use of the full-featured functionality of Eclipse. Penumbra presents an Eclipse perspective that hides all but the basic actions of Eclipse's existing Java perspective, while packaging elements of other perspectives (e.g., the CVS perspective) into simpler actions that ease the downloading and turn-in of programming assignments, and adding new code views inspired by other environments for introductory programmers. Although neither version seems to be currently supported, they provide direction as to what a lite version of Eclipse for Java development might look like.
Only one Eclipse based Scheme development environment exists: The SchemeWay project. It provides a set of Eclipse plugins for the Scheme programming language and features a powerful, fully extensible S-expression-based editor that integrates seamlessly with any Scheme interpreter. However, this environment does not come with the source code and it is not targeted at first year students. While not Eclipse based, DR Scheme provides an environment that provides an integrated programming environment designed specifically with the needs of beginners in mind.
One free Eclipse plug-in for Prolog exists created by an undergraduate student named Juliana Barby Simão. However, it was completed in 2004 and was not continued, even though it was reported that the project would continue duing 2004 as a graduate project. Not Eclipse based, JLog is an implementation of a Prolog interpreter, written in Java. It includes a built-in source editor, query panels, online help, animation primitives, and a GUI debugger. It could be easily wrapped within an Eclipse UI, providing Prolog for Eclipse users.
Whether for Java, Scheme or Prolog development, the idea is to provide first year students with Eclipse-based lite IDEs. By doing so, the belief is that as students become more experience with the lite versions and the languages, they can and will want to transition to the full versions of the IDE. Having students wanting and using the different lite versions of Eclipse should also impact faculty making them more likely to include material on the Eclipse Platform in their lectures in order to help students use these environments. Where do they get the material? From the LCMS outlined above.