Amazon Web Services is hoping to entice more Java developers to build applications and services on its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) with a new plug-in for the popular Eclipse Java IDE (integrated development environment).

"In fact, you can design an entire AWS-hosted Tomcat-based cluster from within Eclipse," states a post made Tuesday to the official AWS blog, referring to the Tomcat application server.

"You can design your cluster, specifying the number of EC2 instances and the instance type to run," it states. "The plug-in will manage your cluster, starting up instances as needed and then keeping them alive as you develop, deploy, and debug."

Eclipse support represents "a first step" for AWS, according to the post. "We anticipate supporting additional languages and application servers (e.g. Glassfish, JBoss, WebSphere, and WebLogic) over time."

Java developers responded quickly and positively to the news on Wednesday.

The Eclipse plug-in is "a very smart idea," wrote developer Rob Williams in a blog post.

"I think it's a good move," added Forrester Research analyst Jeffrey Hammond via email. "If cloud [computing] is going to move from early adopters to mainstream organisations, cloud development and configuration tools need to get better. Going where developers already are - in IDEs like Eclipse and Visual Studio - is a definite move in the right direction."

Gartner analyst Lydia Leong noted in a blog post Wednesday that AWS' move is also a response to Microsoft's work to connect Visual Studio with its Azure cloud development platform.