Eclipse Orion 7.0 Release Review

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The Orion 7.0 release will be in October 2014, following the project's regular 4 month release cycle. The main areas of focus will be on scalability/clustering of the Orion Java server, JavaScript tooling improvements, Cloud Foundry tooling, a new Git user interface, and a new help/documentation system.

Architectural Issues

Orion continues to deliver both a JavaScript/Node.js server, and a Java server implementation. There was a major focus in this release on making the Java server implementation support multiple concurrent instances. This architectural change enables scenarios such as fail over, load balancing, and zero downtime upgrades of the server.

This release introduces support for OAuth-based authentication, with support for both OpenID Connect (Google+) and GitHub authentication. Support for the deprecated OpenID 2.0 and Mozilla Persona authentication methods has been dropped.

Non-Code Aspects

In this release Orion has stopped using the Eclipse platform help system, in favor of a simple new help system developed specifically for Orion. This help system is built entirely with modern web technologies, removing the need for JSP support in the Orion Java server. Documentation is authored in Markdown format, and rendered dynamically at runtime into HTML.

Orion continues to benefit from company testing of Global Verification and Translation Verification.  Orion is part of the Babel project as well. 


The Orion Git UI has had significant layout changes to improve ease of use. The new format avoids deeply nested expanding sections with a two pane layout - timeline view on the left and editor/compare details on the right. This layout makes more effective use of space, works better on mobile devices, and reduces number of  clicks for many common Git scenarios. A "Sync" button has been introduced as a shortcut for the usual complex Git workflows (fetch/rebase/push).

JavaScript tooling in Orion has seen significant improvements in this release. Orion has added support for content assist inside JavaScript jsdoc comments, including completion of types and arguments. Content assist now shows return types based on built type indexes, and allows content assist on regular expression literals. Many new JS linting rules have been introduced, along with more configuration options to allow you to control what lint errors and warnings are shown. Marking of occurrences in JavaScript now supports label and throws statements, and will show variable occurrences before the variable was declared so you can more clearly see how broken your code is.

The Orion search page has already been revamped. Instead of a separate page, search is now integrated into the Orion editor pages as a flyout over the navigation area. This avoids loss of context from switching pages, and reduces overall complexity of the Orion UI.

End of Life

As mentioned earlier, support for OpenID 2.0 and Mozilla Persona authentication has been removed in this release.


The Orion team participates in W3C/WhatWG and ECMA standards and working groups (TC39). Examples of standards being developed in parallel to Orion implementations include HTML Templates, LocalFileSystem, URI Templates, and Promises.  The Plugin model for Orion has also been proposed as a standard within OSGi.  Some work has begun on Web Components with Orion


Orion continues to grow both the committer and contributor bases.  Participation in UCOSP, Google Summer of Code and Facebook Open Academy has introduced many developers in University to Cloud Coding.  Orion is currently listed as the most active Eclipse project and in the top 2% of all projects recorded at Open Hub.  Orion committers and contributors continue to present about Orion and the integration with Flux at conferences and Eclipse Days.