Java productivity gains eyed

Java development will become markedly easier if upcoming technologies from Eclipse Foundation and Sun Microsystems Inc. live up to their promise.

Version 3.0 of the open source Eclipse platform, which will be announced next week, focuses on improving the Java Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and on serving as a Rich Client Platform for tools integration and client application development. Sun Java Studio Creator, the company’s purported easy-to-use Java tool for building workgroup and departmental applications, is due this summer. The tool will be a major theme of the JavaOne Conference which starts in San Francisco on June 28.

To boost the IDE, Eclipse has simplified installation, improved customization of menus and toolbars, and added a role- and experience-based approach for managing workbench features.

By reducing the functionality initially exposed to users in the IDE, Eclipse is easing navigation through the interface, said Mike Milinkovich, Eclipse Foundation executive director. “All of the functionality is there. It’s just a matter of what you see when you’re doing a particular task has been thought through much more (thoroughly),” Milinkovich said.

The Rich Client Platform functionality in Version 3.0 provides a framework for “universal” application integration. Through the platform, developers can construct general-purpose client applications out of Eclipse framework components. Also, the Eclipse environment now can scale to thousands of plug-ins.

An early user of Eclipse 3.0 said the Rich Client Platform capabilities enabled him to develop high-performance client applications. “Java hasn’t been supersuccessful on the desktop. It’s been great on the server,” said Mike Taylor, CEO of Instantiations, which builds Eclipse-based development tools. “(The Rich Client Platform) helps it be really good on the client side of an application, also.”

Sun Java Studio Creator will enable development of components based on Web services, code snippets, HTML forms, Java servlets, and JSP. Components can also be built based on JavaServer Faces and Java technology Rowsets for database access.

“(Sun Java Studio Creator) is a development tool that is targeted toward the rapid and easy construction of Java applications,” said Joe Keller, vice-president of marketing for Java Web services and tools at Sun. “It uses a component-based model that was released as part of the Java platform specification called JavaServer Faces.”

Previously available in an Early Access Release program, Sun Java Studio Creator is set for general availability this summer. The tool had been code-named Project Rave.

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