Inprise/Borland promises easier developer platform

Inprise/Borland has released the latest version of its Java cross-platform development environment, JBuilder 4, which the company claims will cut the time to market for developers building applications.

JBuilder 4 is a Java-based Web and enterprise development environment that provides visual tools and wizards to rapidly develop applications on the Windows, Linux and Solaris platforms. The package has been released onto the Australian market after a user conference in Sydney gave developers their first peek at the new features. It will be distributed through Inprise/Borland's typical channel, Softgen and Tech Pacific, and current resellers including Harris Technology, Noble Systems, International Software Warehouse, City Software and Dymocks.

JBuilder 4 features a variety of new tools and wizards all aimed at speeding up the development process and placing particular emphasis on enabling a group or team of developers to work together on applications without creating conflicts.

The new edition also focuses on the prevention and easy correction of errors. It includes a parser, which checks for errors in real-time as the developer is writing code or working with visual tools to prevent the developer from making too many simple mistakes.

JBuilder 4 also includes a code history editor, which allows developers to revert back through steps in the development process if they are unhappy with the changes they have made. During the entire process, the package comes with a complete Web server and browser so that the development environment mimics exactly what the program will look like once it is deployed on the Web. It also supports local and remote debugging, meaning that developers can debug their programs either from within the development environment or once it has been deployed.

According to Greg Wright, senior systems engineer at Inprise/Borland Australia, the speed of JBuilder 4 should enable developers to produce Web and enterprise applications at much faster speeds than any previous or competing environments.

"It saves you doing repetitive tasks that would normally take half an hour and need 400 lines of code," he said. "You can now compress that into 10 or 11 mouse clicks."

Wright places a high degree of importance on the channel for making JBuilder 4 a success, adding that it is less likely to affect sales at enterprise level, but is of vital importance to marketing the product toward Java enthusiasts and freelance developers.

"I think it is important for us to have a broad coverage and make our product available wherever we can," he said. "At the enterprise level, a company that purchases an application server is likely to buy JBuilder with it. But there is a huge market of people who write systems for themselves, do consulting work and people who are just generally interested in Java who will go to their local reseller or distributor."

JBuilder 4 comes in three versions - a fully loaded enterprise version, and scaled back Professional and Foundation versions. There are cheaper incentive schemes in place for upgrading from past JBuilder programs or competing development environments, with the cheapest of upgrades starting from as little as $21.95 and the most expensive of enterprise prices peaking at $5998.

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