With the release of Eclipse Theia 1.0, organizations and vendors that build cloud and desktop integrated development environments (IDEs) have a production-ready, vendor-neutral, and open source framework for creating customized development environments for both desktops and browsers. Theia is an all-new code base with independent governance from the Eclipse desktop IDE.
Theia delivers an open source, extensible and adaptable platform that provides all of the capabilities of VS Code but which can be tailored to specific use cases. It can also leverage all of the extensions available for Microsoft Visual Studio (VS) Code — one of the world’s most popular development environments.
Industry Leaders Are Adopting Theia
The Theia project was started in 2016 by Ericsson and TypeFox. In addition to Eclipse Che using Theia as its web IDE, many organizations of all sizes rely on Theia as the foundational building block for their development environments:
- Arm Mbed Studio builds on the Theia IDE
- Google Cloud Shell runs Theia as its editor
- The default IDE for Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces is based on Eclipse Theia
- The frontend of Arduino Pro IDE is based on Theia
- Gitpod’s development environment is based on Theia
- SAP Business Application Studio (the next generation of SAP Web IDE) is based on Theia
Other prominent adopters include D-Wave Systems, EclipseSource, and IBM.
Last year, Theia’s momentum and adoption reached the point where the project team approached the Eclipse Foundation to host the project. With over 375 open source projects, we’ve established a track record of the vendor-neutral governance, processes, and the community building needed to further guide Theia’s growth.
Today, Theia is one of the Eclipse projects promoted by the Eclipse Cloud Development Tools Working Group (ECD WG), an industry collaboration focused on delivering development tools for, and in, the cloud.
Theia Goes Beyond VS Code
Theia is being developed by a diverse group of contributors, committers and supporting companies such TypeFox, Ericsson, Red Hat and ARM. With over fifty committers and contributors over the past three months, it is a fast-moving, welcoming, and open community where contributions are accepted from all.
Theia’s more than an alternative to VS Code. The main differentiator between Theia and VS Code is that Theia is specifically intended to be adopted by other companies and communities to build and deploy a modern web-based developer experience. VS Code is great, but it is only ever going to be a Microsoft product.
Theia is intended to be modified, extended, and distributed by folks who want to create developer tools that look as great as VS Code (including using the same Monaco Editor) and can make use of the VS Code extension ecosystem. Of course, it is licensed under the EPL 2.0, so it is easy for organizations or individuals to build and ship products using Theia.
Theia also provides important advantages that give IDE developers considerably more freedom and flexibility than VS Code offers. For example, Theia’s architecture is designed to be more modular and extensible than the VS Code so developers have a greater ability to customize their solutions for specific requirements. VS Code enables a great extension ecosystem. Theia goes beyond that and is designed to be modified and extended at all levels of its architecture.
In addition, Theia is designed from the ground up to run in both desktop environments as well as in browser and remote server environments. IDE developers can write the source code for their development environment once, then build a desktop IDE, a cloud IDE, or both, without rewriting any code. With Theia, it’s easy to move between desktop and cloud environments at any time.
Theia uses the Eclipse Open VSX Registry, an open-source alternative to the Microsoft Visual Studio marketplace. In the spirit of a true open source community, the extensions available in this free marketplace can be used in VS Code as well as in Theia.
Just the Beginning for Eclipse Theia
This first official Theia release confirms the technology is mature, stable, and ready for anyone and everyone to use as a foundation for their custom cloud or desktop IDE. Future releases will provide a desktop download for developers who want to use Theia directly as their development tool.
I want to sincerely thank everyone involved in bringing this important advance in open source cloud development tools to this critical point. With the excitement and rapid uptake that Theia has experienced, I’m sure this is just the first of many successful releases.
I encourage IDE developers to join the world-leading organizations that are already using Theia so they can start benefiting from its capabilities and flexibility.
To get involved with the Eclipse Theia Project and begin contributing, please visit https://theia-ide.org/.
For more information about the Eclipse Cloud Development Tools Working Group, view the Charter and ECD Working Group Participation Agreement (WGPA), or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join the ECD Tools mailing list.