About the Eclipse Platform
The Eclipse platform has many facets and is the platform of many different things depending on your particular needs. Here are a few facts which make the Eclipse platform worthy to use in your organization.
The Basic Eclipse Platform
The basic Eclipse platform and the accompanying technology and tools are rapidly becoming the industry standard when it comes to an open and efficient development platform. The Eclipse development platform provides one of the very best Java development platforms, but also supports a very wide range of other languages through a very flexible plug-in system - e.g. C/C++, SQL, Python and Fortran. Some of these languages are supported by the Eclipse tools project itself, but many of them are supported by independent developers and companies and distributed via sites such as the Eclipse plug-in central.
The Java Development Environment Market
The Java development environment is the central part of the Eclipse platform. The market for Java based development environments has come from 8-12 serious development environments to just three in 3-6 years:
Of these Eclipse and IntellijIDEA represent the main interest for 3rd party developers. The major difference between the two is whereas the Eclipse platform is an open source system, IntellijIDEA is a "normal" commercial closed source product. This has the simple consequence that the support and development community is much bigger for the Eclipse platform than for IntellijIDEA.
Another major difference between the three products is the number of languages supported by the platform. Whereas NetBeans and IntellijIDEA both support alternative languages (though primarily Java related languages), they are absolutely no match to the number of languages supported by the Eclipse platform via 3rd party plug-ins.