IBM updates WebSphere development tools

IBM will upgrade parts of its WebSphere Studio family of developer tools in the coming weeks, promising to reduce the time and...

IBM will upgrade parts of its WebSphere Studio family of developer tools in the coming weeks, promising to reduce the time and effort it takes developers to build Java-based applications and websites.

On 29 August IBM will ship version 5.1 of WebSphere Studio Application Developer, priced from $3,500 per developer, and version 5.1 of WebSphere Studio Site Developer, essentially a subset of Application Developer, priced from $1,000 per developer.

The upgrades aim to reduce some of the coding that developers have to plough through when they build websites and applications by automating certain tasks and introducing new templates and wizards, said Bernie Spang, director of marketing for WebSphere Studio.

For example, the Site Developer upgrade includes shortcuts developers can use to update content and links on a website, replace banners and move data. One new feature lets them shift groups of links en masse to another part of a site, another will automatically debug web applications including VisualBasic and JavaScript code running in a browser.

The update to Application Developer has new drag-and-drop features for building user interfaces. It also lays the groundwork for supporting a standard called Java Server Faces (JSF) that is expected to be finalised later this year. JSF should reduce the time and complexity of developing, testing and managing user interfaces for J2EE applications, Spang said.

WebSphere Studio 5.1 also supports standards developed by the Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) organisation, a multi-supplier group defining technical guidelines to ensure interoperability among web services applications.

IBM claimed its tools will be the first from a major supplier to support version 1.0 of the WS-I's Basic Profile. The tools will generate messages when a Web service isn't consistent with the profile, and will include wizards which generate interoperable code, IBM said.

The tools will also include implementations of two Java specifications: JSR 101, for ensuring interoperability among web services messages, and JSR 109, which should allow a developer deploy a J2EE application on an application server from any supplier that supports the specification. Support for those JSRs bring WebSphere closer to compliance with the upcoming J2EE 1.4 specification.

In October, IBM will upgrade WebSphere Studio Application Monitor for its mainframes and distributed systems. Version 5.1 will be able to sniff out problems creating bottlenecks for deployed applications. It will also generate a report about how much capacity an application needs, so a developer can predict how big an application server or database needs to be to run the application without having to run numerous test scenarios, Spang said.

James Niccolai writes for IDG News Service

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