Bypassing Eclipse

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2004-05-11 Print this article Print

Do you think that BEA is at a disadvantage because youre not involved in Eclipse? Well, heres the thing. We are a customer-driven company. If our customers come to us and say, Well, you have to do Eclipse, otherwise I wont buy your runtime and you are inhibiting me from doing what I need to do, well do it. So far? We dont have that request. And on top of that, I think people are barely digesting the real deal, which is Workshop out there.
Standards and a set of frameworks to me are useless unless it is being applied. I think its much more practical when you have a full set of tools and the framework already done, and you allow people to adopt what is in there from a standard fashion. And I think our approach is a much better approach than doing Eclipse, which none of our customers is looking for.
A lot of marketing went into the program. Marketing doesnt mean anything in our world. Look at how many programs IBM has gone through around this stuff, around component building. Oh my God. There was Project San Francisco. That kind of reminds me of a question I put to another BEA executive about your support for J2EE 1.4, and his response was, well, if you want Web services support, we already have support for that, so we dont need to necessarily adhere to J2EE 1.4 right away to give our customers Web services support. So, the question is, when it comes to certain standards, how do you decide which ones to jump right on and adopt? I think we will always support the standards. The problem is ... lets talk about the people in engineering. We have 700 people in engineering. There are so many interesting things to do—inside and outside the standard. So, the only thing that makes sense is if our customers are saying they want J2EE 1.4 right away. Then well do it. If theyre not asking for it, we want to put the resources elsewhere that would really benefit them—which is really what were trying to accomplish. So, youll support it in the next version? Absolutely. But you dont have to rush to it, knowing that nobody is going to adopt it right away. Many people are barely getting into 1.2. Academic exercises in the real, commercial world sometimes dont apply. I asked you this before, but now its a year later, and IBM has digested Rational [Software Corp.]. Do you see that acquisition to have made the competition with them any different? No. I think its far less. We have never heard of this word Rational anymore, even in our large accounts—and I think that is just reality; its amazing. I always pray the things we dont want, our competitors will buy them. Then, they generally do a poor job of integrating them and they get put out of the market. Well, with the modeling technology theyve added to their lineup, you dont see that as an advantage for them? Well, UML [Unified Modeling Language] is interesting technology—its an intermediate language scheme. And its huge. You look at most of the UML models, you say, oh my God. They never generate any code out of the things. Its just modeling for modelings sake. So, for me, thats not very interesting. There are much more interesting things to do. If this was the kind of new technology people are doing around BPM [business process management] workflow, that is much more interesting. It captures specific business flows and allows you to dynamically change them on the fly. This is so much more usable than modeling their entire business and trying to generate code to run it, and you always have to go back to the model and adjust the model itself. I dont think thats the practical way to go anymore, with the technology we have today. Next Page: A critical look at Java governance.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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