- May 05, 2008

Since 2004, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory has become a forefront user of Eclipse RCP (Rich Client Platform). As explained by Jeff Norris in the foreword of the “Eclipse RCP” book, this choice was driven by the UI-level features as well as the modularity offered by Eclipse’s plug-in architecture : Equinox.

The usage of Eclipse RCP started within the JET’s Maestro team and is now shared with other teams at NASA via a framework named ‘Ensemble’. You can read the whole story in this case study.

As Equinox is in fact a full OSGi run-time, it is possible to use it for server-side applications as well. For EclipseCon 2008, Khawaja S Shams and Jeff Norris have given a great presentation on the integration between Equinox and REST, leveraging the Restlet API. The slides are available online.


They introduce the ‘Ensemble REST Framework’, providing a convenient definition of new Restlet Resources via Equinox extension points. This integration nicely uses Eclipse wizards to define those Equinox extension points. Just note that extension points are not yet part of the standard OSGi speciciations.

This initiative, as well as constant interest in OSGi from our users has led us to improve the support for OSGi in the upcoming Restlet 1.1 M4 release. Each JAR in the Restlet distribution is now a full OSGi bundle. An internal activator automatically registers the Noelios Restlet Engine (NRE) with the Restlet API, or the pluggable connectors with the NRE.

You can get more details about the current and planned support for OSGi in Restlet in this RFE. We are also looking forward to playing with Ensemble REST framework which will be released in open source by NASA.