Amazon's announcement on August 26th of its Eclipse toolkit added another Eclipse-cloud option for Java developers. Here is a table comparing these four: Amazon AWS Eclipse Toolkit, Google Plug-In for Eclipse, Stax Platform for Amazon EC2, and the planned next major release of SpringSource Cloud Foundry. (Cloud Foundry today provides a Web interface, but will embrace Eclipse.)
Eclipse cloud kits 

Several observations jump out at me:

  1. Only one of the four options *isn't* targeting Amazon EC2 for application deployment. This is testament to the enormous mindshare Amazon has among developers, and will help Amazon build its franchise as well.
  2. Want to use SQL for your application? Only two of these four give you a mature SQL database (MySQL). We think most Java developers will prefer to have MySQL to either the Amazon or the Google proprietary databases. We also think developers will want even more database choice in the future.
  3. Want your choice of user interface technology? Stax gives you more than the others, which primarily rely on Java Server Pages. We expect this limitation to be short lived for Amazon, Google, and SpringSource.
  4. Amazon, SpringSource, and Stax provide management features with their products, but Google doesn't yet. SpringSource and Stax provide much more extensive management functions than Amazon does.
  5. Support for remote debugging is not assured; but everyone seems to provide local debugging.
  6. Lastly, the availability of standard Java environments available are limited to the basics for Web applications — except for Stax, which got started a year earlier than the others. We expect all of the vendors to expand the range of options available during the next year.

What does the picture look like to you?