JBoss Tools Project to Get Exadel Plug-Ins

Red Hat's JBoss group is expected to fulfill a promise it made at the EclipseCon event earlier this year. The group plans to offer a set of Exadel Eclipse plug-ins as an open source resource through its nascent JBoss Tools project.

At that time, Exadel, an application consulting firm based in San Francisco, Calif., switched its commercial RichFaces and Studio Pro products to open source licensing, and consolidated its Ajax4jsf project. The products are available at Red Hat's community portal as JBoss RichFaces, Red Hat Developer Studio and JBoss Ajax4jsf, respectively. Exadel joined Red Hat in March to form a strategic partnership to continue developing those projects and integrate them into other JBoss projects.

The integration of Exadel's tools exemplifies the general growth that's expected for the JBoss Tools project.

JBoss Tools is an umbrella project for JBoss-developed plug-ins, and these plug-ins will eventually make their way into the Red Hat Developer Studio integrated development environment (IDE), explained Bryan Che, Red Hat's product manager for tools. The company expects to deliver Red Hat Developer Studio later this summer.

The JBoss Tools project encompasses the former JBoss IDE project, Hibernate Tools, JBoss jBPM Tools, Drools IDE and JBoss Application Server Tools. It also includes the new JBoss Seam Tools, among other products and projects. Che said that the project is providing nightly builds and an Eclipse update manager for easy access to the latest versions of all plug-ins.

Red Hat, which is probably best known as the provider of the leading commercial Linux distribution, acquired JBoss last year expressly to accelerate the company's shift to SOAs. At that time, the center piece of JBoss' product catalog was the JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite (JEMS), a customizable collection of products the company was billing as "the leading open source platform for SOA."

Red Hat needs to present a coherent tools strategy to be taken seriously as a provider of an end-to-end platform for SOA, said Forrester analyst Michael Goulde.

"You still need to have a presence and a brand that is recognizable to developers," he remarked. "You have to find ways to strengthen your bond with them, because they are ultimately the ones who will live or die by your platform."

The tools project is filling a critical gap in Red Hat's overall SOA plan, said Gartner analyst Yefim Natis.

"A development environment is essential to allow developers to design and create service-oriented applications, including composite applications," he said. "If Red Hat is going to compete with IBM WebSphere, BEA WebLogic, SAP NetWeaver and Oracle Fusion with their JBoss family, they have to have tools."

The Exadel plug-ins provide, among other features:

  • Two-way visual (WYSIWYG) and source editing of JavaServer Faces (JSF) and Facelets pages;
  • Support for JBoss Ajax4jsf, JBoss RichFaces and JBoss Seam components;
  • Drag-and-drop capabilities between project navigator, component palette and Visual Page Editor windows;
  • Extended code assist for JSF and Seam projects; and
  • Support for easily adding Ajax capabilities to projects with JBoss RichFaces and Ajax4jsf using a palette and code assist.

The plug-ins are available for download at the portal site, according to the company. They are being licensed under the Eclipse Public License.

About the Author

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