Tools vendors ship new wares

Borland Software Corp., Webgain Inc., and Rational Software Corp. each gave IT application development shops new options on Monday.

Borland unveiled a new application server and application development tools, WebGain announced more specialized bundling of its toolkits, and Rational released Rational Suite v2002.

Borland announced what it is calling the Borland Software Platform for J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition), which is comprised of a new version of its application server, as well as new editions of its application development tools, with a sharper focus on building Web services. The platform includes Borland Enterprise Studio for Java, featuring Borland JBuilder; Borland JBuilder 6 in Enterprise, Professional and Personal editions; and the VisiBroker and AppServer edition of Borland Enterprise Server as well as a new Web edition.

The most significant addition to the J2EE application server is partitioning, which enables users to run several application servers within a single server, which increases security and reliability, said Ken Jochims, director of product management at Borland, in Scotts Valley, Calif. The reason, he said, is that the multiple applications remain separate, so that if one server goes down, it doesn’t bring the whole system with it. Likewise, if one server is broken into by hackers or corrupted by a virus, it won’t necessarily affect all the servers.

The new partitioning architecture in Borland’s application server also lowers the hardware requirements for running applications and makes it easier to manage the application, enabling organizations to utilize the appropriate resources for the application, said Kathleen Quirk, an analyst at Hurwitz Group Inc., in Boston.

“Given the current need to keep costs down, this could be an appealing message to the market,” Quirk said.

Borland’s Jochims said that the company redirected its tools to more closely align with what developers need for building Web services.

“In many ways, Borland refocused and they really understand what developers need,” said Thomas Murphy, an analyst at Stamford, Conn.-based Meta Group Inc.

WebGain, for its part, honed its focus to better meet the needs of developers as well. Stephen DiFranco, executive vice-president of marketing at WebGain, said that his customers are demanding that their own developers take a more horizontal approach to application development.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is pulling its products into a series of bundles aimed at a variety of targets within the enterprise, DiFranco added.

Next month, WebGain will release VisualCafe Enterprise Suite and an updated version of WebGain Studio. The company introduced VisualCafe Expert Suite in September.

The enterprise suite is targeted at teams of Java developers and consists of WebGain VisualCaf