Eclipse Theia IDE Ships, Running on Cloud or Desktop

The Eclipse Foundation's Theia IDE project finally shipped in a non-beta release that offers a completely open source development tool that can be used on Windows, Linux or macOS desktops or in the cloud, running in a browser. It can also be integrated into existing infrastructures like online portals or company environments or even directly hosted on hardware devices, the open-source champion said.

The Eclipse Theia IDE is part of the Eclipse Cloud DevTools ecosystem, described by Eclipse Foundation as a "true open-source alternative" to Microsoft's Visual Studio Code editor, which Microsoft has described as being "built" on open source but with proprietary elements like default telemetry with which usage data is collected.

Eclipse Theia IDE in the Cloud
[Click on image for larger view.] Eclipse Theia IDE in the Cloud (source: Screenshot).

The Eclipse Theia IDE is a separate component from the overall Theia project's related Eclipse Theia Platform, used to build IDEs and tools based on modern web technologies.

Theia is built on the same Monaco editor that powers VS Code, and it supports the same Language Server Protocol (LSP) and Debug Adapter Protocol (DAP) that provide IntelliSense code completions, error checking and other features.

It also supports the same extensions as VS Code (via the Open VSX Registry instead of Microsoft's Visual Studio Code Marketplace). There are many more extensions available for VS Code in Microsoft's marketplace (numbering in the tens of thousands), while "Extensions for VS Code Compatible Editors" in the Open VSX Registry number 3,784 at the time of this writing.

Open VSX Registry
[Click on image for larger view.] Open VSX Registry (source: Open VSX Registry).

In a comparison of using VS Code or Eclipse Theia as a platform for a tool, Eclipse Foundation suggested an organization will need to evaluate custom project requirements, but that as a general direction:

  • If an organization wants to provide some tooling, which is focused on code and wants as many developers as possible to use it in their existing IDE, providing an extension for VS Code seems like a valid choice.
  • If an organization wants to provide a white-labeled product for customers or its own developers, which is tailored to a specific use case and possibly contains more features than code editing, it might be better served with Eclipse Theia.

For developers just wanting to pick a tool to write apps with, an Eclipse Foundation blog post today said: "For developers in search of an IDE that combines flexibility, openness, and cutting-edge technology, the Theia IDE is a compelling choice. Distinctive features like an adaptable toolbar, detachable views, remote development support, and the forthcoming live collaboration mode set Theia apart from other open-source IDEs. Moreover, its commitment to privacy and its stance against incorporating telemetry by default reflect its respect for user preferences."

Eclipse Foundation today (June 27) emphasized another difference between its Theia IDE and VS Code: the surrounding ecosystem/community.

Eclipse Theia Community
[Click on image for larger view.] Eclipse Theia Community (source: Eclipse).

"At the core of Theia IDE is its vibrant open source community hosted by the Eclipse Foundation," the organization said in a news release. "This ensures freedom for commercial use without proprietary constraints and fosters innovation and reliability through contributions from companies like Ericsson, EclipseSource, STMicroelectronics, TypeFox, and more. The community-driven model encourages participation and adaptation according to user needs and feedback."

The big list of contributors to and adopters of the platform also features Broadcom, Arm, IBM, Red Hat, SAP, Samsung, Google, Gitpod, Huawei and many others.

"The Theia IDE's open-source foundation, supported by a vibrant community and underpinned by a license that champions commercial use, sets the stage for a development environment that is not only powerful and flexible but also inclusive and forward-looking," Eclipse Foundation concluded in its announcement today. "By choosing the Theia IDE, developers and organizations are not just adopting an IDE; they are joining a movement that values collaboration, freedom, and the collective pursuit of excellence in software development."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.


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