BEA, Microsoft, Sun tout data visualisation, tools

Major players in software are making plays in data management and software development. BEA Systems is looking to spread its wings in data visualization, and Microsoft and Sun are reinforcing their tools arsenals.

During the next 60 days, BEA is set to flesh out plans for a new product portfolio for data extraction and visualization, said Marge Breya, chief marketing officer at BEA. The company's Liquid Computing strategy for building adaptable service-oriented architectures will be a key to the products.

Central to BEA's plans is the notion that data collected from systems such as ERP or CRM platforms should be viewable anywhere, according to Breya. The goal, she said, is "to have line of sight into your business processes regardless of what big application that you would have."

BEA also intends its products to provide views of data from multiple systems after corporate mergers.

The products will not require deployment of BEA's signature WebLogic platform, and they will be tuned to professionals such as technically oriented business analysts.

Meanwhile, Sun Microsystems on Wednesday announced a beta release of its open source NetBeans 4.1 IDE, available at www.netbeans.org/downloads. The IDE supports J2EE development, including EJB component architectures and Web services, without the developer having to search for an array of plug-in modules, according to Sun.

New modules are featured for developing enterprise applications.

Sun is also sponsoring a "Switch to NetBeans" program to transition current development projects to the NetBeans IDE. Migrations can be made from any other development IDE.

In touting NetBeans, Sun cited an example of a customer switching from the rival open source Eclipse environment. An "Import Eclipse Module" is featured as part of Sun's new program for automating importation of an Eclipse project to NetBeans.

Eclipse has been in the news of late, with BEA announcing last week that it has joined the Eclipse Foundation. The foundation held its annual conference last week.

Information and documentation on switching to NetBeans are at www.netbeans.org/switch.

Microsoft on Wednesday announced that the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute's CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) process guidance will be available to users of the upcoming Visual Studio 2005 Team System product.

To be provided as a process template in Team System, CMMI provides guidance on implementing mature software development practices, according to Microsoft. CMMI will be incorporated into the MSF (Microsoft Solutions Framework), which provides a set of software-development processes, principles, and practices. Team System is due to ship later this year.

Additionally, a second process template, "MSF for Agile Software Development," is to be provided for Team System. This template is intended to enable iterative software development enhanced with features such as risk management, release management, and design for operations.

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