IBM releases WebSphere Studio 5.0

Version 5.0 of IBM's WebSphere Studio software for developing Web applications is scheduled for release Tuesday, featuring new tools for working with legacy applications written in COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) and PL1 and support for the latest batch of open-source standards and software.

WebSphere Studio 5.0 is the first piece of IBM's WebSphere 5.0 line to launch, and it will be followed soon by other products including WebSphere Application Server 5.0, a version of which is built into the new WebSphere Studio.

The software comes in two versions. WebSphere Studio Application Developer is for building, testing, debugging and deploying Java and J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) applications. The more advanced IBM WebSphere Studio Enterprise Developer includes additional tools for working with legacy applications.

Version 5.0 brings to WebSphere Studio new features for coordinating the workflow of multiple back-end applications. It also adds support for J2EE, version 7.2 of both Red Hat Linux and SuSE Linux, version 2.0 of the IBM-backed Eclipse open-source IDE (integrated development environment) and several new Web services standards.

The key advantage of the new WebSphere Studio is its openness, said WebSphere Director of Marketing Scott Hebner [cq]. More than 175 plug-ins from vendors including Rational Software Corp., Interwoven Inc. and Macromedia Inc. are now compatible with Eclipse, giving developers significant customization choices and the freedom to focus on building applications rather than integrating tools, he said.

"We think the big (advantage) here as we go forward is a huge development community that is not aligned to any specific vendor. That's a direct alternative to the Microsoft (Corp.) development community," Hebner said. "Over time, when it comes to e-business infrastructure, we think this is essentially going to be a Microsoft versus IBM decision. Eclipse is a completely open alternative to the Microsoft environment."

WebSphere Studio Application Developer 5.0, available now, is priced at US$3,499 per user. WebSphere Studio Enterprise Developer 5.0, scheduled for release Monday, will retail for $7,500 per user.

In October, IBM plans to release two new tools for analysis and fine-tuning of back-end applications: WebSphere Studio Application Monitor for z/OS -- an IBM operating system -- and WebSphere Studio Workload Simulator for z/OS. Pricing for those two products has not yet been announced.

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