Borland: Changing with the Times

Attendees at Borland Software's 16th annual developer conference, held last week in San Francisco, got a peek at the company's new CEO, Tod Nielsen. They also got a look at a company in a transition that transcends C-level changes.

Nielsen reaffirmed the company's commitment to developers. "Our goal is to empower you to be on-budget, on-time, every time," he told attendees.

For the last few years, Borland has been shifting its focus from stand-alone development tools to broader solutions that emphasize collaboration and role-based features spanning individual products. The company's Software Delivery Optimization strategy took center stage at the conference, amid announcements of a range of product enhancements emphasizing application lifecycle management.

The Borland shift has been driven largely--but not exclusively, Borland representatives emphasize--by the advent of the Eclipse open-source tooling framework, which is seen to have commoditized much of the basic IDE functionality.

"The Java IDE space as a standalone business is certainly shifting," says Mike Hulme, Borland's senior director of product marketing, "and we see that in the future we are going to have a lot more of the Java development technologies in Core SDP [Software Delivery Platform], and that's where the demand is going to come as part of that overall team platform."

Released in February, Borland's Core SDP is an integrated, role-based platform designed to increase visibility and control over all phases of the software delivery process.

Providing a collaborative architecture designed for more efficient and predictable software development is key to Borland's strategy, says Hulme. The 2006 version of company's flagship Java IDE, JBuilder, for example, is all about collaboration. JBuilder 06 includes shared code editor views and joint debugging, features designed to enable geographically disparate developers to collaborate as though they were sitting at the same workstation. Future versions 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. A new commercial, Eclipse-based JBuilder product, code-named Peloton is due next year.

"The timing of [Eclipse] is quite good for us," Cheng adds. "It has created an opportunity to stop competing on basic features and focus on higher value solutions--which is not to say that we're ignoring individual productivity. But because we focused on all of that individual stuff for so long, it's very mature, so we can put our investment into new stuff.”

Borland also announced an update to its requirements management system, CaliberRM 2005. Release 2 is designed to increase communication, productivity and usability when managing requirements across the application lifecycle with requirements management support for business and IT analysts, project managers, developers and testers.

The company said it is integrating its requirements management system with Microsoft’s new role-based Team Studio ALM suite, launched earlier in the week.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].