Newly christened CodeGear, Borland Software’s subsidiary offering developer tools, made its first major product announcement last month.

Set to be unveiled is the company’s JBuilder 2007 IDE for Java, open source and the Web, formerly code-named “Peloton.” The highlight of this version is that it delivers on Borland’s pledge to base the environment on the open source Eclipse platform. It is built on the Eclipse 3.2 core.

Eclipse’s free IDE had precipitated a commoditization in the IDE market that made it tough for commercial vendors such as Borland to compete. But the new Borland-owned business unit seeks to accommodate developers accustomed to Eclipse by adding value.

CodeGear has been careful to respect the way Eclipse works and seeks to complement it rather than conflict with it, said Joe McGlynn, JBuilder product manager at CodeGear.

“We didn’t violate the Eclipse project model,” McGlynn said.

Will developers pay nearly US$2,000 for the Enterprise version of JBuilder when the free Eclipse alternative is available? Whether or not developers will pay for an IDE depends on how much support they need, said Bola Rotibi, principal analyst at Ovum. “At the end of the day, you can get the basic Eclipse IDE for nothing,” Rotibi said.

Skilled developers who know their way around Java coding may try their luck with the free offering first, she said. “However, a lot of commercial enterprises don’t really have the time or the inclination from that perspective and are looking for [product support],” she said.

CodeGear officials stressed the new IDE’s open source accommodation and extra features.

“This is really the first version of JBuilder that really fully embraces open source,” said Michael Swindell, senior director of product management for CodeGear. Developers can use Eclipse plug-ins with JBuilder 2007, he said.

Featured in JBuilder are UML 2-based (Unified Modeling Language) visualizations of Java projects, via the product’s LiveSource functionality. “[Developers] can graphically see how things work,” McGlynn said.

A Visual EJB capability enables developers to drag and drop widgets onto a canvas and build Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB), which interface to databases and services. EJBs have a notorious reputation for being difficult to implement and anything that helps with this is good, Rotibi said.

OptimizeIt Java code profiling is also highlighted in JBuilder 2007. “It lets the developer change source code to really make the application run faster and use less resources,” McGlynn said.

Team development capabilities in JBuilder 2007 include the TeamInsight collaboration foundation. This allows access to solutions for source code management, requirements, bug tracking and project management. Also featured as part of TeamInsight is a Web portal providing views of a project and the ability for developers to view their specific responsibilities.

The Project Assist capability in JBuilder provides for configuration and administration of a tools stack for a team of developers.

JBuilder 2007 integrates with Borland application lifecycle management products including the Together modeling tool and StarTeam, for change management.

JBuilder will be generally available later this quarter; JBuilder 2006 customers will be able to migrate existing applications to the new IDE.

The Enterprise version of JBuilder is US$1,999 for a new user and US$999 for upgrading existing users. The Professional version costs US$799 for new users and US$479 for upgrades, while the Developer version costs US$399 for new users and US$199 to upgrade.

Support and maintenance costs are extra, from US$600 per year for the Enterprise release to US$120 for the Developer offering.

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