Companies looking to discover savings by migrating e-business application deployment to the Linux platform may find that migrating their developers, particularly seasoned Windows developers, to the often-stark development environment can be a costly proposition.
A rise in Linux popularity has spawned more graphically friendly IDEs (integrated development environments), such as the impressive Metrowerks Inc. CodeWarrior, but for rapid application development on an enterprise-scale, only one company – Borland Software Corp. – is harvesting fruit-bearing achievements on Linux, with Kylix Enterprise 2.0.
In particular, the newly added support for Web services integration and XML development makes this RAD (rapid application development) IDE – the first ever to produce native code for Linux – incredibly compelling.
Kylix is to Linux what Delphi is to Windows: a fast, visual toolset for building natively compiled, data-driven applications – now including comprehensive integration capabilities for quick Web services adoption. Kylix offers the additional benefit of source-code and project-file sharing with its Delphi sister-product. Developers using the two Borland packages can port code and recompile between platforms, helping to lower development costs by reducing the time and complexity for code migration.
New strengths in e-business development for Linux come from the inclusion of three new platform components to Kylix: BizSnap, WebSnap, and DataSnap.
BizSnap provides the means for building Web services interfaces into existing applications as well as incorporating out-of-house services using platform-neutral standards.
Kylix includes native support for building SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) connectors, manipulating UDDI (Universal Discovery, Description and Integration) repositories, and generating WSDL (Web Services Definition Language). In addition, XML tools are available for binding XML data to application objects as well as facilitating transformational mapping.
Kylix’s DataSnap component provides the database-enabling architecture for applications.
The package sports wizard-driven development for CORBA-based clients and servers, and database drivers for Oracle Corp., DB2, MySQL, and Borland’s Interbase, as well as the in-memory XML database, MyBase. All told, the new additions provide the enterprise-strength development tools that companies will need to rapidly build support for a Web services-tiered architecture.
Kylix’s cross-platform capabilities, which come by way of the Object Pascal CLX (Component Library Cross-Platform) components, enable Delphi and Kylix developers to easily exchange code in the absence of OS-specific calls or direct hardware interactions. These reusable components allow developers to concentrate on application business logic instead of the environment in which they’re developing.
As Linux gains deployment viability and Web services move closer to maturity, the unrivalled, platform-agnostic capabilities of the Kylix Enterprise RAD will prove invaluable for developers.
In much the same way that Visual Basic helped fuel Windows development, Kylix will bring Linux development to the masses.
Learning to work productively in Kylix will not take your developers long and, if they have any experience using Delphi, they will feel immediately comfortable. With the help of several open-source partners, Borland has done an excellent job of making the Kylix experience a match to its Windows counterpart.
The drag-and-drop IDE includes the requisite editing tools and debugging facilities, as well as a visual form designer, wizards, and a well-implemented library of Web services, database, network and user interface functions.
Native support for Web services and a slew of wizard-driven features assisted with tasks such as SOAP creation, WSDL importing, and XML data binding that reaped additional timesavings during development.
Error-reducing features, such as auto-syntax completion and a reworked project inspector offering drill-down access into properties of interrelated objects, made for faster updates and improved code consistency.
Kylix uses Object Pascal that, at the very least, will require your developers to become familiar with a new language. However, the well-structured, object-oriented language is extremely easy to learn and will present minimal training investment.
The Kylix-optimized linker did a superb job at squashing code size and in our code-porting test between Kylix and Delphi, we experienced error-free recompilation and native applications with comparable performance.
We found working with Kylix a pleasure. It proved to be far more responsive than most Java IDEs and offered a fast road to proficiency in visual application development.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Executive Summary: Kylix’s tools for building and deploying native Linux applications are unrivalled. Cross-platform code sharing and newly integrated Web services capabilities accentuate this IDE.
Test Center Perspective: Test Center perspective: Linux provides cost savings, and Kylix brings first-class enterprise development tools to the platform. Kylix’s breadth makes it well suited to meeting a variety of application development and integration needs. Solid database components and cross-platform capabilities make Kylix a must-have.