What's going on behind the scenes when you're using the IDE?
Vortex is a clever piece of kit. It uses the Eclipse platform with some custom plugins on the client side, and communicates over SOAP and HTTP to server based web services.
Your version of Vortex can be runin 2 ways, either as a full Eclipse RCP application (where you only use it for Tornado development) or install it as a plugin in your existing Eclipse install.
As a full RCP application you get the benefits of having the app branded and we remove a bunch of confusing menu options and plugins you'll probably never use.
When run inside the Eclipse SDK (or WebSphere) as a plugin, you have the benefit of your existing development toolset as well as the Vortex IDE. This configuration is probably preferred by developers who use a number of products so they only need to maintain one development client rather than switching between multiple during the working day.
The server-side SOAPDesigner application contains only web services used to communicate with the Vortex client. For extra protection this application can be moved to a different path to make it harder for hackers to guess where it is.
Compressed XML messages move between Vortex and Tornado. This means only small amounts of data are transferred and development is quite fast. Since these messages travel over HTTP, developers can work between companies without the need for opening special ports in firewalls.
When you open an application, vortex gets a list of all the design elements and their attributes. When a design element is double clicked, it is pulled from the server and temporarily stored on the Vorex workstation filesystem. When saved by the developer it is automatically uploaded back to the server and the local copy is also updated.