Eclipse RCP Trends

I’ve been having some fun today with Google Insights for Search, and of course my first thought was to examine trends relating to the Eclipse Rich Client Platform. And what did I find? Here is a chart showing historical data beginning in 2004 for the search “eclipse rcp”.

First, this is just awesome data! You can drill down to individual countries, states/provinces or even cities. I could play with this all day, but I really should get back to work!

Unfortunately the news isn’t good for Eclipse RCP. It’s interesting that while Eclipse RCP job postings are trending up, the search statistics are telling a different story. The stats for RCP look even worse when you compare them to Adobe Flex, which many (mistakenly, I believe) think of as a substitute for RCP.

We obviously need to do a much better job promoting Eclipse RCP. There are so many things involved with this, including making the platform easier to use (hopefully the e4 project will help) and also communicating clearly what Eclipse RCP is and why it’s useful. I’ll have something to say about this later point in upcoming posts, but I’d be curious to hear what others have to say. What do you think can be done to better promote Eclipse RCP?


9 Responses to Eclipse RCP Trends

  1. Donald Smith says:

    Google search trends is a remarkably bad tool for industry analysis. It does not factor in the relative decrease in searching overall, gives negative indications when information is made easier to find, gives no relative scale, has no correlation to economic activity, etc. Worse, if you save these results and then run them again in 6 months you will have different slopes even for previous years.

    – Don

  2. Well, for one, Eclipse RCP could be put back on the homepage (I admit this is a pet peeve of mine, see and

    But that aside, I think what’s most important is that we get more people who actually work on making the Eclipse RCP better (and then talk about that they do it). I would like to find more people like Tom Schindl, Francis Upton, and Matthew Hall who devote some of their time to improving certain aspects of the Eclipse RCP.

    If these are good times for RCP experts, and they can demand their terms as you wrote a week ago, why don’t they invest in the future of RCP (and thus in their own future!) by earning enough money from Monday to Thursday so that they can contribute to RCP on Fridays?

  3. Patrick says:

    Hi Don,

    Thanks for the feedback. You’re critique of Google search trends makes sense, and I certainly hope that the data understates the growth in interest related to Eclipse RCP. I’d be interested in what other metrics might make more sense in looking for trends. Do you think that job posting trends are more valid?

    I have to say, though, that the data “feels” right based on my experience over the last few years. I make my living as an Eclipse RCP trainer, and while there is continuing interest in RCP courses, that interest has not really grown over the last few years. I think that the comparison between RCP and Flex also maps pretty well to what’s going on in the industry.

    — Patrick

  4. Patrick says:

    Hi Boris,

    I completely agree, and you’re right that RCP experts (including me) should put their time where their mouth is! I’ve focused my time up to this point on making RCP more understandable through blogging and training, but I’d like to start writing code in the near future. Hopefully other RCP developers reading this post will act on your suggestion.

    — Patrick

  5. Deep down inside… I think it’s a marketing issue… we have done a poor job marketing RCP in my opinion. We have brand confusion that when people hear Eclipse still they think IDE, not a rich client platform. It’s my hope that with the new Runtime project, we have a chance to rebrand Eclipse into more of a platform under the Equinox umbrella.

  6. Tom Seidel says:

    I think the current marketing of RCP needs improvement. At the moment Eclipse is just a space for programmers and in this way it’s also realized. – One Example: With three clicks you have an eye-catching flex demo running which is also understandable for a marketing guy. What do you get with three clicks within the eclipse-space?- Endless enumerations of frameworks, apis, and terms which nobody understands. From my daily work I can say that it could be easier to tell people why they should use Eclipse as an application framework. Often you have to explain them what Eclipse is in general. I also already made some points on the e4 mailing list, see
    The session program of the EclipseCon and the Eclipse Summit is IMHO a good indicator where the community stands, what’s the current scope of Eclipse and who is targeted. At the moment there is not much space beside the typical technical topics.

    One point to the “involvement”. Many “people” think that involvement means code committing, but IMHO involvement != code contribution. The majority of companies not using Eclipse as Platform for Java applications is not because of missing features, bad api,.. but because of ignorance. So what generates more value? – Some useful and understandable information about Eclipse (like on this blog) to catch up a Non-Eclipse-User or to deliver yet another feature? – Both is important, but in my opinion some people stew too often in their own juice.. Patrick, keep up the good work :).

  7. […] to brand Eclipse RCP? In response to my last post on Eclipse RCP Trends, Chris Aniszczyk commented: Deep down inside… I think it’s a marketing issue… we have done […]

  8. The problem i think is that Eclipse RCP have to precise the market target. The design capabilities is very poor and the deisgner/developer collaboration don’t exists. Il think is the reason of the Flex success.
    I continue to think that RCP have advantages for data centric applications and integration with platform and peripherals. Points that Adobe just begin to really implements.
    Actually all my development use EXSWT to facilitate UI development like with FLEX MXML. RCP depend of SWT and SWT need some more complex component. The Nebula project and RCP toolbox are good but not enough in front of JIDE for Swing and the Flash/Flex (Thermo) tools to create new components.
    RCP development is easy with Perspective, Views/Editors, Forms etc but the design and the look and feel have to evoluate if we want to do a goog promotion.

  9. Sebastien, I’m completely with you. An active topic in e4 is model based UI. What I hope that gets you is to allow a much broader set of compositions of parts to suite a particular RCP app need. So for example instead of just us hiding perspectives for you, you describe your application composition such that they just are never included. Another topic is using CSS to style Eclipse. Another is declarative approaches to design such as EXSWT. How I see all these combining is incredible flexibility in how the parts are assembled, what they look like, and ease of expression through markup. Eclipse provides fantastic component reuse. The cost of componentry shouldn’t be UI handcuffs. Flex is great for that flexibility, there’s lots of lessons for us to learn, but meanwhile we have a much stronger component model.

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