Borland moves ahead with .NET tools; inks pact with Microsoft

[February 4, 2003 - ADT's Programmers Report] - Borland moved last week to improve the tools available to customers who are beginning to pursue .NET application development. The company became the first to license the .NET Framework Software Development Kit (SDK) from Microsoft.

As a longtime Windows house, Borland was one of the first to endorse the .NET Framework at the time of its formal introduction a year ago. .NET development has been supported in Borland's Delphi, Kylix and .NET Builder suites but, at deploy time, Borland developers have had to log onto the Microsoft Web site to download the suitable runtime. As a result of this deal, the runtime will be available from Borland via the .NET Framework SDK, which will become part of Borland suites.

''The reason we are doing this is so the Borland developer doesn't have to make a separate effort to get that functionality,'' said Simon Thornhill, vice president and general manager of Borland RAD solutions.

Thornhill admitted that .NET uptake, observed to this point, has been limited. ''.NET is just starting to take off,'' he said. ''We've had people playing with it and investigating it [to date].''

This could be due to a number of things, Thornhill indicated. However, he tended to agree with some observers who suggest that the general adoption cycle may have slowed or, possibly, that .NET is challenging for VB-style developers.

Borland has made news with other efforts in recent weeks as well. The company has launched new versions of its Java application server software, as well as an updated version of its ServerTrace J2EE test analysis software.

ServerTrace today offers sharp insight into performance problems in J2EE systems, said Bill Pataky, director of product management and marketing at Borland's Java unit.

Unlike traditional load and stress testers, this software more ably points the way to the root of problems, noted Pataky. ''It lets testing teams look inside what was previously a black box. At high level, you see a J2EE dashboard,'' he said.

Besides profiling, said Pataky, ''we also tell you the way your assembled system may cause problems down the road.'' For example, if you try to serialize a non-serializable object, he explained, ''it will work, but [it] will come back to bite you down the road.

''J2EE has issues,'' he continued. ''With C, you can find problems at compile time and Lint does a good job there. But with J2EE, you can't use a static analyzer like that. You have to have a running system to the context in which the code is being used,'' said Pataky.

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About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.


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