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10 Jun

Application Development Tools Update: Eclipse support for JavaScript Rebooted

Eclipse has fallen behind for JavaScript developers, but just recently the Eclipse Foundation announced revived support for its JSDT (JavaScript Developer Tools). Some of this work, which they''re calling a "reboot" of JSDT, is scheduled to appear in the Neon release of Eclipse, which is already in release candidate form, but there will be more to come in later releases.

The last release of JSDT was version 3.7.0, in June 2015. Version 3.8.0 has an announced date of June 22, 2016.

The announcement is timely if not overdue. JavaScript is no longer just something that runs in the browser to augment Web pages; developers are using it as a server-side language to build whole Web sites Node.js is the key to this leap. Eclipse''s support for the language is jumping from ES3 to EcmaScript 2015, also known as ES6. It will replace the old parser with the Esprima parser and will support class definition syntax as well as all the new keywords. This will put an end to error messages caused by use of the latest features.

The JSON editor offers content assist and syntax coloring to make creation of data structures easier. The new JSDT includes support for Gulp and Grunt for automated task scheduling and running.

Developers will be able to create and debug Node.js applications as well as code to run in browsers. When working with Node.js, developers can either use the global installation or a custom installation. They can even switch among multiple versions of Node when it''s necessary for testing.

Eclipse will support npm, the Node.js package manager, as well as Bower, which runs under Node to extend package support to client code.

Developers who like Eclipse but have wandered away from it because it had stagnated should take a look at the Neon release and decide whether it''s time to come back.

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