Microsoft, IBM and Borland are upgrading their software and offering users new workflow features, support for multiple languages and tools to manage the lifecycle of in-house applications.
Next month Borland will update its popular Delphi tool, promising to make it easier and quicker for developers to create applications in multiple languages. Delphi 2005 users will be able to collaborate on applications in Win32, .net, Delphi and C#.
Jason Vokes, European product manager for .net and C++ at Borland, said the new tools would improve productivity at the Windows platform level, the personal level and the team level. For example, the Starteam feature allows business managers and developers to collaborate over application development projects, he said.
Bola Rotiba, senior analyst at Ovum, said, "Delphi has got a lot of .net support and a lot of fans, and that is important. For Borland, software delivery optimisation is a major part of its strategy, but it has to break away from being seen as a departmental tool to being an enterprise tool."
Borland is trying to attract larger enterprise users with Delphi 2005. Vokes said, "Our model-driven development approach allows people to take existing multi-supplier enterprise databases and extend them by moving them into the .net domain."
In December, IBM will release updates to its Rational line of modular development products for architects, developers, testers and project managers. For the first time, they will give chief information officers a single view of a company's software development teams and projects. Each team member will share a common data repository for sharing information during the development process.
All new Rational tools will be based on the open standards Eclipse framework. Nasser Kattani, IBM's software marketing manager for Rational, said, "This has never been done before. Eclipse means coding and lifecycle management all in the same environment."
IBM's Software Development Platform contains individual modules designed for different roles in the development team. It provides team members with a role-specific view of the same underlying data.
Rotiba said, "IBM was clever to use Eclipse throughout its tools, because that provides a consistent environment in which it is easier to transfer skills."
Meanwhile, Microsoft's developer tools strategy is rolling forward with Visual Studio 2005 products set for general availability in the first half of next year.
Earlier this year Microsoft unveiled Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition, aimed at developers working in small organisations, as a replacement to Visual Basic 6.0. It supports multiple languages such as Visual Basic and Visual C#.
The supplier is also updating beta versions of the full Visual Studio product family - the Standard, Professional and Express editions - and the high-end Visual Studio Team System, which focuses on application lifecycle management.
Rotiba said, "All three suppliers recognise that development has had a bad name in the past and have concentrated on collaboration. It is all about the business process now: repeatability and predictability."
- Borland will release Delphi 2005 next month with multiple language support
- IBM will update Rational tools based on the open standards Eclipse framework
- Microsoft is on track for the first half of 2005 with its Visual Studio 2005 family
- Sun will release its Sun Studio 10 development tool by year-end with 64-bit support
- Oracle released JDeveloper 10g in April with enhanced web services support.