Eclipse Pulsar Platform: Uniting Mobile Manufacturers With a Single Development Platform
Early this morning, the Eclipse Foundation announced the Pulsar Initiative, a joint effort to create an open, standard mobile application development platform. The Pulsar Initiative is led by the mobile device manufacturers Motorola, Nokia and Genuitec, while industry leaders such as IBM, RIM, and Sony Ericsson Mobile are among the participating members.
The Pulsar Initiative's first goal is to define a common set of Eclipse-based tools in a packaged distribution, allowing developers to create mobile applications for multiple devices using a single, familiar development environment. This saves developer's time (and sanity) by bringing applications to more devices without needing to be intimately familiar with every handset's software development kit.
The Pulsar Initiative expects the Pulsar Platform to be available as part of the Eclipse Galileo release this June. In the meantime, the Initiative is focusing on a few areas, including creating the packaged distribution (the Eclipse Pulsar Platform), developing a roadmap of and timeline for the advance of the platform and its capabilities, documenting and developing best practices, and informing mobile application developers about the platform's capabilities and use.
While the road ahead for Pulsar is still being discussed, the Initiative is certain that it will support major mobile development environments (such as JavaME), mobile web technologies, and native mobile platforms.
Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation, said that this joint undertaking "is a great example of how open source can foster industry collaborations." It might feel counterintuitive to business models based on trade secrets and closely guarded development practices, but there is great value in sharing information and core tools. Streamlining the development process means developers can bring their applications to more devices and a wider audience -- and device manufacturers gain a competitive advantage when they are able to offer a diverse range of software to consumers -- even if (and perhaps specifically because) the same mobile applications are available on competing devices.