By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2005-02-14 Print this article Print

IBMs Eclipse 3.0-based RWD 6.0, released in November, emphasizes the connection between the user experience and the source code in much the same way that JSE 7 emphasizes the connection between the source code and UML visualizations. Layout and modification of Web sites in RWD was intuitive and quick; database connection aids were versatile and convenient. The product is offered under various license terms, including a $1,795 single-seat floating-user license that provides 12 months of maintenance.

Click here to read the review of JSE 7.
Both of the products reviewed here are commendably capable of reverse-engineering existing code or of updating their visual displays to reflect any changes to code that might have been made by some other tool.

This is a major improvement over previous schemes using specially formatted comments or other tags and is a strong point weve previously found fully displayed only in Borland Software Corp.s JBuilder 2005. The standard of due diligence has now risen, and were pleased to see this theoretical advantage of strongly typed languages becoming realized more widely in practice.

Read more here about JBuilder 2005. A particular strong point of RWD is its adoption of different tool configurations based on a wide range of roles such as Java developer, database developer, XML developer, tester and others. We were invited to choose our role upon entry from an Eclipse-style opening screen, which looks more like the title slide of a PowerPoint presentation than like the start page of any other IDE (integrated development environment). IBM has been bringing some visual designers into its tool factories.

JBuilder 2005 and JSE 7 also address the need to focus their tools on the task at hand with the Personalities feature in the former and with easily created and retrieved named tool-bar sets in the latter. We found RWDs approach of defining and dynamically extending the environments capabilities to be the least burdensome to use.

RWDs refactoring capabilities are extensive, with a longer list of available operations than those provided by JSE. Undoing of refactoring actions in RWD is handled by a command in the Refactor menu, rather than by the normal Edit menu command, and we appreciated the Refactor menus dynamic indication of what action would be undone.

Offsetting this, however, is the disadvantage that any edits to a file after a refactoring operation in RWD made it impossible to undo that refactoring. This also prevented our undoing refactoring actions beyond a single level, at least within a single file. By comparison, JSE 7 includes refactoring actions in the same multilevel Undo/Redo stack as other editing actions.

Overall, a new developer may find it more difficult to get started with RWDs Eclipse than with JSEs NetBeans shell. We more often felt that Eclipse was saying to us, "No, stupid, you cant do that," instead of, "Oh, thats what you want to do?"

On the other hand, anything that a team doesnt like about Eclipse may well have been improved by some third-party plug-in developer. For that matter, RWD also includes an Eclipse plug-in developer role to pave the way for participation in that community.

Technology Editor Peter Coffee can be reached at peter_coffee@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at salesforce.com, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developersÔÇÖ technical requirements on the companyÔÇÖs evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter companyÔÇÖs first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel