This message was originally posted to the general@incubator.apache.org mailing list. Someone pointed out that such discussion should be carried out here instead. So I'm re-posting the original message here. Here it goes:

I want to propose a centralized Eclipse update manager site for Apache projects/software. Reason I propose an Eclipse update manager site for Apache projects/software is because Eclipse projects such as the Web Tools Platform (WTP) project often reuses software that are provided by Apache, for example, Axis, Tomcat, Derby, etc... Often times, these Apache software are not redistributed by the Eclipse projects, but instead, they are listed as prerequisites. This means, end users must first download the Eclipse project and all the Apache software prereq by the project, and configure these software in the Eclipse project before they can get started. This is error prone and hampers the out-of-the-box experience. Imagine the following scenario:

A user downloads WTP. Unzip it and starts it up. S/he wants to create an Axis Web service. S/he launches the wizard that creates a Web service, but finds out s/he needs Tomcat and Axis. So s/he opens up her Web browser, goes to the Apache Web site and looks for the download page for Tomcat and Axis. S/he downloads and unzips Tomcat and Axis to the file system. Goes back to WTP and manually configures Tomcat and Axis into her workspace. S/he launches the wizard again and move on.

This is not easy. If there's an Eclipse update manager site for Apache software, then when the user finds out s/he needs Tomcat and Axis, all s/he needs to do now is launch the Eclipse update manager (URL to the Apache update site will be preloaded), select Tomcat and Axis and click Finish. The Eclipse update manager will download, install and configure Tomcat and Axis automatically. This is much better than asking the user to download and configure things manually. Also, this Eclipse update manager site is useful when new versions of a Apache software is available. For example:

Say Eclipse WTP 1.0 ships with Axis 1.2 support. If later on, Axis releases a critical fix for Axis 1.2, then without an update site, we'll need to do one of the following...

1. Rebuild WTP 1.0 with the Axis fix
2. Ask users to manually update WTP
3. Wait for the next version of WTP.

None of the above sound attractive. If there's an Eclipse update manager site setup for Apache, then end users can search and install new updates automatically by making just a few clicks. I believe this can advance the integration between open source software that are provided in different domains (Apache, Eclipse, etc). I think this will benefit the open source community and can grow the open source ecosystem.

Suggestions/comments are welcomed.


Jeffrey Liu

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