Software AG has joined the Eclipse Foundation, an open-source community focused on providing an open development platform for building software. The company, a heavy user of XML technology, plans to standardise all tools in its new SOA suite of Crossvision applications on the Eclipse platform, it said.

In addition, the company's Natural 2006 application development too, which allows developers to build and maintain complex business applications for any platform, will support Eclipse.

Eclipse provides a plug-in based platform designed to make it easier to create, integrate and use software tools, saving time and money, according to the foundation's website. The platform is written in Java and comes with extensive plug-in construction toolkits and examples.

Key to attracting wider vendor involvement across the Java space, Eclipse was spun out of IBM in 2004 as a not-for-profit organisation and has since emerged as an alternative to Microsoft in the application development space.

Currently, more than half of all Java developers use Eclipse, according to Software AG.

The goal of the Eclipse Foundation is to foster an open-source community that responds to the needs of the global developer community and serves as a platform for innovation, said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the foundation.