With the upcoming Spring 13 release (release window dates below) the new Tooling API goes GA.
11th Jan, sandbox instances
18th Jan – 9th Feb, production instances (EU0 8th Feb, EU1/2 9th Feb)
What is the Tooling API?
The full details can be found in the API guide here, in short the API is intended to provide an optimised, standardised, capable and compelling interface for tools developers. Full stop. The latter two points being key – a major complaint I’ve been hearing for a long time is the immaturity of the available developer tools and the lack of choice. Substandard tools (relative to Ruby, Java and particularly .NET etc.) can really hamper adoption within the IT department, it never ceases to surprise me how much power developers can wield particularly where strong technical leadership is absent.
The Tooling API supports both SOAP and REST styles of web service and enables working copy management for the Apex metadata types, update synchronisation and error checking as well as access to heap dumps, debug logs and so forth. All in all the provided functionality looks like all you’d need to build a rich development tool or Force.com augmentation to an existing toolset.
A new open source version of the Force.com IDE, developed with the Tooling API, will follow the GA release, no date announced.
If I had the time, my first task for 2013 would be to design and build an iPad developer app; delivering a super-efficient developer experience, integrated with GitHub etc.. Anyone who has experienced code-editing in the web app in the iPad Safari browser will surely agree, this could be a winner! I suspect other more forward thinking people will already have such things ready to ship as soon as Spring ’13 rolls out. I hope so. Looking forward to 2013 being the year of new and innovative developer tools..