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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Eclipse at eBay, Part 1: Tailoring Eclipse to the eBay Architecture

In this article the author explains how eBay uses Eclipse and custom
plug-ins to build the next generation of the giant auction Web site.
Eclipse's first claim to fame was as an integrated development environment
(IDE) for Java technology. Eclipse's plug-in architecture is a big reason
for its success. There are many popular plug-ins available, and it is
very easy to create your own. These two traits make Eclipse a perfect
fit for systems with specialized architectures, such as eBay. Eclipse
is known for being a Java IDE with a great plug-in system. The Eclipse
V3.3 (Europa) release of Eclipse brought with it several specialized
distributions of Eclipse. These included Eclipse for Java developers
and Eclipse for Java EE developers. In addition, you can use the Eclipse
C/C++ Development Toolkit (CDT) and the Eclipse PHP Development Toolkit
(PDT). eBay was originally launched as AuctionWeb in 1995. The original
site was written in Perl. As the site grew, it was rewritten with a C++
back end and a front end that made use of XSL. Using XSL to generate
HTML was very cutting-edge back in the late 1990s. eBay went public in
1998 and continues to see exponential growth. Constantly mounting
pressure from traffic forced a massive rewrite of the back end of eBay
in the Java programming language starting in 2001. The front-end
architecture was not changed. The Java+XSL architecture is internally
referred to as the V3 architecture, with Perl being V1 and C++/XSL as
V2. The V3 architecture proved to be massively scalable, allowing eBay
to grow to its current size as one of the world's most visited sites.

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