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Borland Unveils JBuilder Roadmap; Signposts Include Eclipse

Borland Software recently laid out plans for JBuilder, including continued development of JBuilder products to utilize Eclipse as the integration framework.

Over the next year, Borland plans to introduce two new JBuilder products that "address the evolving needs of enterprise Java developers," the company disclosed. JBuilder 2006 is expected to ship later this year. That release is to be followed in the first half of next year by a new commercial, Eclipse-based JBuilder product, code-named Peloton. JBuilder users who now receive support and maintenance services will be entitled to free upgrades to both products, according to the company.

Borland is directing the evolution of JBuilder, first introduced in 1997, to respond to the demands of a more collaborative developer environment, the company says. JBuilder 2006 is expected to include shared code editor views and joint debugging to enable disparate developers to collaborate as though they were sitting at the same workstation. Future versions of the IDE will enable developers to make software a more managed and successful business process, the company says, with more real-time visibility into the impact of code changes across application tiers, as well as projects.

The first of the Peloton products will bring JBuilder's usability, collaboration features, application lifecycle management integrations and support to Eclipse, the company says, while still allowing developers to take advantage of the flexibility of the open Eclipse platform and the growing ecosystem of Eclipse plug-ins. Peloton, like previous versions of JBuilder, will also support cross-platform development and multi-server deployment.

"Many enterprises are evaluating the Eclipse platform," says Ovum analyst Bola Rotibi, "but the transition is about more than swapping out an IDE. The cost of an IDE is minuscule in comparison to a development environment's overall impact on teams, IT systems and business processes. If Borland can create a developer environment that provides the flexibility and cost-efficiencies of using an open platform, in addition to providing the level of quality, innovation, support and investment protection that customers expect from a commercial product, then it is well placed to make the value proposition of Eclipse more attractive to large enterprises."

The Eclipse open-source project grew out of technology first developed by IBM to serve as a universal platform for integrating software development tools. That technology is now managed by the Eclipse Foundation, whose membership includes Computer Associates, Oracle, Red Hat, Novell, SAP and JBoss Inc.

Borland, which was one of the founding members of the Eclipse consortium, has recently deepened its involvement in the foundation. The company's new JBuilder roadmap reflects its view that the advent and widespread acceptance of the Eclipse platform has been a market-changing trend.

"Eclipse creates an opportunity for vendors to stop competing on low-value, multiply implemented, ever-commoditized features and creates an opportunity for higher value solutions," said Borland's CTO Patrick Kerpan at this year's EclipseCon conference. "Once it is a platform game, it’s time for Borland to add value to the platform, just like we do for WebSphere, Visual Studio, [and other products]. The IDE is commoditized, so you have to deliver higher value up the stack."

Boz Elloy, Borland's senior VP of products, believes that we are in "a new era of development," in which developers must focus on "enhancing both their individual art and their contribution within a larger team." Elloy that the next generation of Borland's solutions will be designed to help individuals and teams "manage the pressures of this new era and thrive in it."

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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