We want to make the process of building, testing, and deploying applications on Amazon EC2 as simple and efficient as possible. Modern web applications typically run in clustered environments comprised of one or more servers. Unfortunately, setting up a cluster can involve locating, connecting, configuring and maintaining a significant amount of hardware. Once this has been done, keeping the operating system, middleware, and application code current and consistent across each server can add inefficiency and tedium to the development process. In recent years, Amazon Web Services has helped to ease much of this burden, trivializing the process of acquiring, customizing, and running server instances on demand.
Also, in the last couple of years, the Eclipse IDE ( Integrated Development Environment) has become very popular among developers. The modular nature of the Eclipse architecture opens the door to customization, extension, and continuous refinement via plug-ins (full directory here).
Today, we are introducing the AWS Toolkit for Eclipse. This free, open source plugin for the Eclipse IDE makes it easier and more efficient for you to develop, deploy, and debug Java applications on top of AWS. In fact, you can design an entire AWS-hosted Tomcat-based cluster from within Eclipse. You can design your cluster, specifying the number of EC2 instances and the instance type to run. You can select and even create security groups and keypairs and can associate an Elastic IP address with each instance.
The plugin will manage your cluster, starting up instances as needed and then keeping them alive as you develop, deploy, and debug. If you start your application in Debug mode, you can set remote breakpoints, inspect variables or stack frames, and even single-step through the remote code. You can see all of this great functionality in action here.
This is a first step for us, and we anticipate supporting additional languages and application servers (e.g. Glassfish, JBoss, WebSphere, and WebLogic) over time. As is the case with all of our services, customer input and feedback will help to shape the direction of the plugin.