Servoy Aims to Juice Up Java Development

By Joe Brockmeier  |  Posted 2010-09-07 Print this article Print

Review: Servoy's open-source Servoy 5.2 Java RAD is worth a look for those interested in cross-platform application development and deployment, although the documentation could be better and some experience with Eclipse is advisable.

Ruby developers have Ruby on Rails, Python has Django, but what about Java? Java Rapid Application Development and deployment might sound like an oxymoron, but Servoy is trying to cut through some of the hassle and speed up Java development and deployment.

Servoy, made by a company of the same name, is a cross-platform development and deployment environment based on Eclipse. It can be used to write applications for native desktops on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, or to be deployed as Web applications. Servoy 5.2 was pushed out at the end of July. We took a look at some of the prereleases and the final release builds as well.

Servoy is really an umbrella term for a whole package: You have the Servoy IDE (integrated development environment) based on Eclipse, a server that handles client connections to the applications and an optional runtime component that can be distributed with single-user applications. Get all that?

Basically, the idea is that Servoy allows you to create all manner of Java-based applications, even applications for set-top boxes-mostly by writing JavaScript. Code is written in JavaScript, but deployed using the Rhino project from Mozilla, which converts JavaScript into Java classes.

If your shop develops Java applications, you haven't been scared off of Java by Oracle and you want to look at making cross-platform apps available, Servoy might be worth a look.

But expect to do a bit of slogging to get to the good parts. Servoy, the company, would do well to improve its documentation and site. Finding things can be difficult. If the company wants to compete with .NET, Oracle, FoxPro and others (as the site indicates), it needs to do a much better job of making information readily accessible.

Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years covering IT. Formerly the openSUSE Community Manager for Novell, Brockmeier has written for Linux Magazine, Sys Admin, Linux Pro Magazine, IBM developerWorks,,, Linux Weekly News, ZDNet, and many other publications. Brockmeier is also a FLOSS advocate and participates in several projects, including GNOME as the PR team lead. You can reach Zonker at and follow him on Twitter.

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