Cloud development environment Dirigible changes JavaScript engine and editor


The Eclipse Foundation has released version 5.0 of Dirigible. The Cloud IDE, whose name stands for airship or zeppelin in German, migrated from SAP to the Eclipse Foundation a good five years ago. It is primarily intended for the creation of business applications and their adaptation during operation under the catchword in-system development. Dirigible combines conventional programming with low-code approaches.

The current release replaces the previous Mozilla Rhino JavaScript engine with the GraalJS implementation, which is based on the GraalVM from Oracle. According to the Dirigible blog, the exchange was surprisingly smooth: the conversion of the API layer to the new engine was possible without any significant effort.

The main reason for the change is that the Dirigible team mentioned that Rhino has been lagging behind in the ECMA specifications recently, while GraalJS is fully implementing the ECMAScript 2020 standard released in mid-June. A pleasant side effect of the new engine is the connection to the Chrome DevTools, which according to the Dirigible team was also possible with GraalJS without much effort, whereas previous efforts to integrate via Rhino and the V8 debug API were too unstable.

The team also replaced the editor and converted the previous Eclipse Orion to the Monaco editor developed by Microsoft, which is the basis of Visual Studio Code. With the change Dirigible is in good company: In the last major version, Eclipse Che has replaced the development environment based on Google Web Toolkit (GWT) with Eclipse Theia, which in turn builds on Monaco.

Thanks to Xterm.js, Dirigible 5 comes with a terminal window.

(Image: Eclipse Foundation)

Eclipse Dirigible 5.0 also has Xterm.js on board, an implementation of a terminal window written in TypeScript for use in the browser. Dirigible also follows other well-known development environments with the integration: Both Visual Studio Code and Eclipse Theia and thus Che rely on Xterm.js.

(Image: Eclipse Foundation)

Further innovations in Eclipse Dirigible 5.0 such as the extended Git integration can be found on the Dirigible blog. In the article, the team celebrates the rise to the full Eclipse project, which was probably more or less parallel to the release of version 5.

The source code of the development environment can be found on GitHub. In October 2019, the Eclipse Foundation started a working group for cloud-native development tools, whose toolbox includes Dirigible, among others, Che and Theia.


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