IBM readies embedded Java development tool

Looking to put its stamp on the emerging embedded Java market, IBM has launched the beta test program of its VisualAge for Embedded Systems, Java Technology Edition.

As reported earlier, IBM this year will roll out a series of tools to allow application developers to target embedded systems and small form-factor devices.

By getting the Java development environment into the hands of device manufacturers, chip makers, software developers, and systems integrators, IBM is hoping to foster the development of embedded systems, and so-called Internet appliances, such as personal digital assistants, handhelds, and intelligent cell-phones, according to Joe Damassa, vice president of application development marketing at the IBM software solutions division.

The release gives IBM a jump on both Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard, whose squabbling over the embedded Java space led HP to develop its own Java virtual machine for that class of platforms. Sun has yet to complete its EmbeddedJava specification.

"We're leading here by having a development environment available before (Sun has) got that completed," Damassa said.

VisualAge for Embedded Systems, Java Technology Edition, is an add-on developers' workbench for Java tools. IBM will tailor the add-on most specifically for its VisualAge for Java, but will support other Java tools, according to Damassa.

VisualAge for Embedded Systems includes IBM's embedded Java (EJava) virtual machine runtime, class libraries for target platforms, testing and debugging tools, a set of reusable components for connections to back-end applications, and tools for building Java runtimes as small as 27K bytes, according to Damassa.

The add-on allows developers to test, tune, and debug applications on their workstations via virtual representations of their target platforms, as well as live on the actual target device via remote testing and performance tools, according to company officials.

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