BEA launches developer program

In a move that one industry analyst called necessary, BEA Systems Inc. launched the Controls and Extensibility Program on Monday to help independent software vendors (ISVs) integrate with its WebLogic platform 8.1 and allow Java developers to create and customize certified controls.

BEA WebLogic is an integrated visual development environment for building enterprise Java applications that enables developers to create, test and deploy the controls inside APIs.

The Workshop Extensibility Development Kit provides free software, sample code, custom controls, IDE extensions – or taglibs that are designed to easily integrate and operate with the Workshop platform – as well as testing services and marketing support for ISVs. The reusable software components can unite development, integration and third-party software assets through a single development environment, the company said.

“For BEA to be able to compete against IBM’s Eclipse they needed to [develop this program],” said John Meyer, senior industry analyst with Forrester Research Inc., in Olney, Md.

“While [BEA is] opening up its platform for people to integrate more tightly into it, at the same time, BEA is providing a nicer framework for organizations to build components,” Meyer said. He added that a third-party provider could come into the developer program and pick up the environment faster, while the programs will also work easier with other applications.

Unlike Oracle Corp.’s jbuilder and IBM Corp.’s Eclipse, which focuses on tools integration and not tools and product integration, BEA has chosen to focus on leveraging a higher level of return, Meyer said.

“Take for instance, code-centric development,” he said. “Development can only get so much efficiency when you’re taking the code-centric approach. [BEA’s] environment is all about taking a component-based approach to building application and integrating those applications together.”

Microsoft Corp. had a similar program launch earlier this year called the Visual Studio Industry Partner program, which encouraged ISVs to create extensions for its Visual Studio .Net environment. [Please see Microsoft developer program gets a facelift.]

Ted Schadler, a principal analyst with Forrester, said although Microsoft has offered a partner program for many years and has been successful building products and services using Microsoft tools, no one has been successful offering a similar program in the Java community.

“This idea of controls, or ideas of extensions to the Workshop tool kit is very analogous to what Microsoft has done,” Schadler said.

On Monday, BEA was touting the fact that it had more than 33 partners that have endorsed the WebLogic Platform through the extensions and controls program. Some of those third-party partners include Computer Associates International, and Cognos Inc.

“For BEA, making this move – for people building systems on BEA’s WebLogic platform – will definitely make the use of the WebLogic platform grow very rapidly,” Meyer added.

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