Announcing Orion 0.5

OrionHub Landing Page

In concert with the Eclipse Juno release the Orion team has deployed the 0.5 release to OrionHub. This is our last pre-release before 1.0 which is planned for October, 2012 in parallel with EclipseCon Europe. With an influx of new contributors to the project this release has seen some great new and improved features.

Before delving into that I’d like to recap a bit regarding what we’re trying to accomplish with Orion. If you look back at early Eclipse you can see that the team created a platform on which to build both an IDE and Rich Client Applications for the desktop. There was a hole in the cloud for providing the same type of platform for the web and our goal is to fill it. Orion is not just a sexy editor and some navigation, it has a distributed plug-in architecture, a micro-services framework and reusable components. These features are all available in our client as a whole but the intention is that they can be consumed as required by web application developers. This is already happening at Mozilla, VMWare, IBM and at web sites like Cloudfier.

What you see when you create an OrionHub account and login is a fully featured JavaScript+CSS+HTML (among others) development toolkit including Git support, full indexed searching, full featured navigation, self hosting site deployment and Console support. There’s an excellent editor with code completion, outline view, and error reporting. An i18N NLS plugin for converting your javascript messages to other locales. Support for DBCS files, folders and file content (also with bidi). But these are not in isolation, they’re all plugins to the framework which is Orion. The GetPlugins link on our page shows how easy it is to merge content and functionality safely from 3rd party sites. Want to access your WebDAV account? There’s a plugin for that in the Orion source. Same is true for Chrome’s initial version of HTML5 File Content, a local file system within the browser. These plugins allow you to copy files between your OrionHub account, a WebDAV site and your local HTML5 cache just using client side technology. We’re closing in on an offline mode using such scenarios. Want a different outline view in the editor or more code completion options using Esprima? Done. I hope I’m getting my point across that just as Eclipse is not just a Java IDE, Orion is meant to be a meeting place to build lightweight extensible components and framework for the Browser.

And now for the features! Most are covered in the following blog posts but overall the User Experience was a major focus during the last milestone and release candidates. Unification on selection models, page layout, section display and command navigation was a big task but the experience when using Orion is now significantly better. The UI also looks a lot more modern now, taking styling queues from highly used web sites. It will be a lot easier for downstream consumers to take from a styling point of view.

Orion 0.5 M1 – New and Noteworthy
Orion 0.5 M2 – New and Noteworthy
The Orion Console: Not your father’s TTY
Orion, Top Eclipse Juno Feature #4
Connecting Amazon S3 to Orion
Delegated Content, Indirection, and the Two-Way Street
Orion and Google App Engine

We still have a lot of work to do before 1.0 and we’re working on our plan for the next 4 months. We’re also looking at what to focus on post 1.0 including additional support for new languages, different server options, server less (or offline) support, improved command completion and error reporting, deployment scenarios possibly using an expanded Sites page and more examples on how to extend Orion with content pages or consume Orion components within existing sites. We’ll also be looking at theming of the UI.

As the team sees the rapid change in the web community the focus changes to match it. We’re liking a 4 month (M1, M2, RC1, RC2, RC3) development cycle because it lets us adapt quickly. Let’s see what we can get done in the next 4 exciting months!

Check it out on OrionHub or Download Orion 0.5 for your platform.

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