The Eclipse Foundation has released an updated version of its popular developer platform and tools after working on the project for a year.

The Foundation — whose Eclipse open source platform is highly popular among Java developers for building applications — released version 3.1 today.

“What we’ve focused on with the 3.1 release is full J2SE 5.0 support, with all the cool features developers love, a lot of work on performance and we’ve done a lot with debugging and [the Ant Java-based build tool],” Ian Skerrett, director of marketing at Eclipse, told Builder AU.

Skerrett said the timing of the release of Eclipse 3.1 — during Sun Microsystem’s JavaOne developer conference, an event at which Sun is heavily spruiking its Netbeans developer platform for Java — was a coincidence.

“It was a year ago since the release, it was a coincidence that Eclipse was released at JavaOne but the team wanted a predictable schedule and it works well that we release Eclipse once a year,” he said. “The core team is based in Ottowa [in Canada] and we joke that in the winter time we work, and the summer time we play.”

He said Eclipse was more than just a Java integrated development environment. “There is [support for] C/C++, Fortran, Macromedia just announced that they will be releasing some of their tools on Eclipse and there is a lot of PHP development,” Skerrett added.

A number of traditional tools vendors such as BEA, Macromedia and Borland have announced their intentions to integrate their own tools with the Eclipse platform rather than Netbeans.