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.
I couldn’t agree more, and I’ve spent some time this summer trying to wrap my head around this issue. I should say up front that I have zero marketing experience. But on the other hand, I have spent a lot of time with RCP newcomers and have some experience viewing this technology through their eyes.
So what did I come up with? Well this might sound pretty obvious to some, but my conclusion is that RCP = modularity. Period. If you want to assemble (dynamically or otherwise) an application from a set of components/plug-ins/bundles/whatever, then RCP is the tool for you. Sure it’s a UI toolkit, sure it offers a workbench, preference pages, etc. But the core idea that animates RCP is modularity.
The good news is that Java modularity in general and OSGi/Equinox in particular are playing an increasingly important role in software development. We need to ride this trend and make clear that RCP is the visual expression of Java modularity. When you want to apply the principles of Java modularity in the UI space, RCP is the tool for you.
From a marketing point of view, this brings me to the same conclusion that Chris reached above. Basically, RCP needs to be rebranded as part of a suite of technologies related to Java modularity. In other words, RCP needs to become the Equinox UI.