I have been at the Developer Experience Hackfest representing Anjuta with Carl-Anton. Here is a summary of the plans for the coming months.
The goal of this hackfest was to define how to create a platform using GNOME libraries to develop, distribute and use applications as easily as possible. This can be called GNOME OS but it is not an OS. It is more an SDK bundled with a way to install and run applications without changing your system.
An IDE is needed to develop those applications and will be part of this effort. Anjuta is a quite obvious choice because it is using GNOME libraries.
Anyway the goal of this IDE is quite different from Anjuta. While Anjuta tries to be useful to develop any kind of Unix applications, this IDE will be designed for a new type of applications having a more limited scope.
I’m not ready to stop Anjuta and work on this new IDE. But as Anjuta is very flexible, I think it’s possible to use Anjuta to implement it. It will be an interesting experience and should benefit to Anjuta as most of the code could be the same.
To be more practical, I think one main change is to write at least a new project backend plugin replacing the autotools backend. I think it’s needed to present a simple interface. By example having a simple combo list to select the targeted platform (GNOME 3.6, GNOME 3.8…) instead of a big list of available libraries, hiding C compiler flags and so on. We will start trying to use the BuildJ format because it is quite simple but it will probably need some improvements to support these GNOME applications.
Another important point is to load a custom session on startup. The idea is to be able to start Anjuta as it is now or as a more limited GNOME IDE. We will need to add more flexibility in several plugins too, by example to keep only the GNOME applications templates in the project wizard.