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By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2003-06-02 Print this article Print

Its easy, for example, to write Java code that allocates far too many new objects rather than making efficient use of a smaller set of instances: Optimizeit 5.5 monitors allocations and can show where they arise. Memory consumption by instances of a class can be monitored in real time. The profilers Hot Spot display can show time consumption at the level of individual methods, while a "reduced reference graph" display can show only associations that force an object to remain active rather than being discarded.

Optimizeits thread debugger also addresses dynamic concerns such as multiple threads contending for permissions and resources, or facing possible deadlock scenarios. Where these cant be conclusively diagnosed, it offers graphical displays that aid the developer in seeing possible problems. Code coverage facilities in Optimizeit accommodate interactive and batch-mode testing processes: Real-time coverage displays show the fraction of code that has been active during a test, while command-line options make it possible to include coverage analysis in other unattended tests and generate reports of the results.

This fall will bring with it the introduction (long overdue, if we may say so) of Java as the programming language for the high-school Advanced Placement Computer Science program. Educators and students will therefore be pleased to note the continued offering of a Personal edition of JBuilder, scheduled for update to Version 9 this month and available on CD for $9.95 (and labeled, like the $999 Developer edition, as suitable for use in as little as 256MB of RAM).

Sad to say, JBuilders superb UML (Unified Modeling Language) visualization tools, with their intuitive integration into the rest of the environment, are exclusive to the Enterprise edition and wont be part of most students initial exposure to software engineering.

The raw-text source code rite of passage therefore continues, although JBuilder 9s editors offer some interesting new error-proofing aids, such as a Sync Edit mode that updates every occurrence of an identifier in a single operation. This is especially useful when using one piece of code as a template for another.

Also found in JBuilder 9 are the first fruits of Borlands acquisition of Starbase Corp., a process completed in January. Having Starbase under its umbrella gives Borland new strengths in requirements definition, configuration management and team collaboration technologies—from a team whose products have been eWEEK favorites for the past decade.

The Starbase tools are integrated not only with JBuilder on the development side but also with the design tools that joined the Borland lineup in January when it acquired TogetherSoft Corp. JBuilder 9 represents a surprising leap in capability for a product thats now flirting with the "Version 10 Barrier," a milestone of maturity that few software products successfully pass while remaining category leaders.

JBuilder looks likely to break that barrier with ease.

Technology Editor Peter Coffee can be reached at

Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, 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.

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