Sun and IBM sharpen developer tools

Sun Microsystems and IBM are fortifying their developer tools strategies, with Sun readying its Java Studio Creator, a visual...

Sun Microsystems and IBM are fortifying their developer tools strategies, with Sun readying its Java Studio Creator, a visual development tool for Java, and IBM increasing ties between its Rational tools and the Eclipse open-source toolset. 

Sun will release an Early Access version of its visual development environment for Java on 8 April. Previously codenamed Project Rave, the product is viewed as Sun’s easy-to-use counterpart to the Microsoft Visual Basic language. Java Studio Creator will feature JavaServer Faces technology to boost performance and code efficiency. 

Coding with Java Studio Creator is intended to be visual and efficient. "It allows you to focus on business development rather than doing plumbing," said Jim Inscore, group marketing manager for corporate development tools at Sun. 

The product is based on Version 3.6 of the NetBeans open-source platform, which adds stronger support for JSP, syntax support in the code editor, improved code completion, and an enhanced debugger. 

One analyst noted Sun’s intention to make Java development more like Visual Basic programming.

"Java is complex and requires a higher-level programmer than what a typical Visual Basic developer is," said Dana Gardner, senior analyst for application infrastructure and software platforms at The Yankee Group.

"Sun, with Creator, wanted to close the gap between Java’s complexity and Visual Basic’s ease of development." 

The Early Access release will be available at Sun said 10,000 developers have already signed up for the Early Access versionGeneral release is set for late June. 

Shedding light on IBM’s strategy, company officials will focus on Eclipse as well as on the UML (Unified Modeling Language). 

"In the next 18 months, you will see greater integration and construction on top of the Eclipse framework. Eclipse is at the core of all the products we build as part of the software development platform," said Jeffrey Hammond, group marketing manager for software development platforms at IBM. 

"Where we are moving now is if you look at products today from Rational, 80% of them are Eclipse-integrated today," Hammond said. "As a general, strategic direction, we are moving them from Eclipse-integrated to Eclipse-based." 

IBM is also making UML 2.0 modelling capabilities available as part of Eclipse. The company plans to produce standardised mapping between BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) and UML.

Paul Krill writes for InfoWorld


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