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Orion/FAQ

If you have a question that is not covered by this FAQ but think it should be, please let us know (on IRC, on the mailing list, or by filing a bug). Thanks!

Orion is a Mature open source project under the Eclipse top-level project.

Orion's objective is to create a browser-based open tool integration platform which is entirely focused on developing for the web, in the web. Tools are written in JavaScript and run in the browser. Unlike other attempts at creating browser-based development tools, this is not an IDE running in a single tab. Links work and can be shared. You can open a file in a new tab. Great care has been taken to provide a web experience for development. Orion components are individually consumable and examples of this are Mozilla Firefox Scratchpad, SpringSource stand-alone Editor. All the components of Orion together can be viewed at the public facing OrionHub site where anyone can create an account and try Orion out. This FAQ describes what you can expect from OrionHub.

What are the benefits of bringing the development infrastructure to the web?

More and more software and infrastructure is moving to the web and adopting web technologies. The same reasons apply to software development tooling:

  • Zero install on the client
  • Lower total cost of ownership
  • Scalable computing power
  • Simple connectivity -- links
  • Trivial update mechanism (i.e. refresh the page)
  • Powerful rendering engine -- browsers
  • Very large and active community

What is the current status of the project?

Orion has now been under development for over a year and graduated to a Mature project in October of 2012. Orion 1.0 has an excellent base platform for the purposes of developing HTML, JavaScript and CSS applications. There is source code management through Git, built in search capabilities, an excellent editor with JavaScript content assist, Sites and self hosting your code as you develop it, a few deployment scenarios and a growing list of plugins to extent the base functionality. The components that make up the core infrastructure of Orion such as the plug-in mechanism, micro service framework are mature and have many example of reuse. We're not done by any means, but the 1.0 release gives a foundation on which to build.

What is Orion Hub?

http://orionhub.org is a public TEST server of Orion. It is available to the general public for the purpose of evaluating a stable Orion build. Everyone can request an account directly on the site. Note that this is a site meant to test Orion features and there is no guarantee that data stored on this server will be persisted. The Eclipse Foundation reserves the right to delete any and all data from the server. If you are trying it out, you should regularly push your changes to a remote Git repository such as Git Hub, copy your files to another server via SFTP, or export a Zip file with your changes.

Can Orion be used for real work?

Yes, however note that your data is on a public Test server and that your data is not backed up. From time to time, the user accounts on OrionHub may be reset or removed due to lack of use or misuse.

Which technologies are running behind the scenes of the Orion project?

To realize our vision of embracing the web, the important technologies will be RESTful HTTP, HTML5, JavaScript, CSS, JSON, Atom, OpenID, OAuth, Persona, etc. Our goal is to enable linking between Orion and other web-based tools such as bug tracking systems like Bugzilla, build monitoring tools like Hudson, code review tools like Gerrit, versioning repositories like GitHub, and so on. By comparison, the concrete technologies used for our current implementation are not as important to us, but since you asked, we used pure HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and some Dojo on the client, and Java with Equinox, Jetty, and JGit on the server.

Orion is not based on the old Eclipse codebase, so how does the Orion code relate to the “old” Eclipse platform code and the other existing Eclipse projects?

We are using code from the Eclipse Runtime project for our server. On the client side, we are working on UI components that are fully web based. The desktop Eclipse IDE is not going to go away, and is going to be actively developed and maintained for many years to come. In fact, if the logic of your Eclipse based application has a clean separation of headless APIs and Data and UI, you can use the Orion server as a starting point to expose your core application data to a JavaScript application written using Orion.

Is Orion limited to providing a development infrastructure, or is it conceivable to use the Orion code for other purposes, in a similar way the Eclipse code was used for RCP and Runtime Projects?

This is definitely conceivable, but not our current focus. We will definitely be thinking about this constantly as we are developing Orion further.

What are the next steps for Orion?

Orion graduated to a mature Eclipse Project in October 2012 coinciding with a 1.0 release at EclipseCon Europe. For our 2.0 release in February, 2013 we want to focus on improved JavaScript tooling, hosting scenarios on Node.js, additional file services and discovery and deployment solutions for the projects you are developing in Orion.

As we develop new features, we encourage you to try them out at orionhub.org.