By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2004-07-06 Print this article Print

JDeveloper 10g, Oracle Corp.s latest developer tool set, is a complete and responsive Java-based environment that eWEEK Labs ranks second to none. Its flexible licensing model is the finishing touch that earns it an enthusiastic Analysts Choice appellation.

JDeveloper 10g installs the old-fashioned way: It places a set of files in a directory and starts the root application that opens the full-function development environment. This makes JDeveloper 10g easy to acquire—especially when a full-function, nonexpiring version can be downloaded free for noncommercial development—easy to try and easy to discard if it does not meet ones needs.

A commercial license for a named user costs $995, and licenses are included in other Oracle offerings.

JDeveloper 10g complements Oracles 10g lineup of Database and Application Server, but it also offers developers a smooth path to any of several other application platforms, including BEA Systems Inc.s WebLogic and the open-source Tomcat and JBoss.

Check out eWEEK Labs reviews of Database 10g and Application Server 10g. Many of JDevelopers most powerful and impressive features are aimed at finding and consuming Web services from remote repositories, but these capabilities wont hamper developers with other plans. Like the context-focusing Personalities feature in Borland Software Corp.s JBuilder X, the Technology Scope feature of JDeveloper 10g let us reduce work space clutter by devising customized lists of the core technologies to be incorporated into a particular project.

Different stages of development benefit from different views of work in progress: diagrams at some points, drag-and-drop interface builders at others and hands-on source code editing when exactly the right thing needs to be said.

Keeping those views available at once—and keeping them consistent with the one that was most recently edited by the developer—is a goal that various toolmakers have been steadily approaching for many years. JDeveloper 10g closes the final gaps—we were unable to trick it into confusion or inconsistency, even as it responded to our every change in each of several side-by-side views.

Whether we were editing user interface properties or internals of an XML schema, the specialized editors tracked our every move.

Were used to seeing a programmers editor mark lines of code that simply dont make sense, but no editor weve seen does a better job of warning us when were just not being careful enough. For example, JDeveloper 10g highlighted code that left potential exception conditions uncaught and, with one click, generated an appropriate surrounding code block using our choice from a menu of Java error-handling structures.

Far-higher-level approaches to development are aided by Oracles Application Development Framework, an extensive collection of J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) building blocks that is licensed with the JDeveloper tools.

Although we werent able to use our preferred Java platform, Mac OS X, for this review because JDeveloper is not yet supported on that operating system, we found JDeveloper 10g quite usable on the same 256MB Microsoft Corp. Windows 2000-based laptop we used for our review of 9i.

JDeveloper 10g for Mac OS X is due in the second half of 2004. Click here for the full story. Technology Editor Peter Coffee can be reached at peter_coffee@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms Developer & Web Services Center at http://developer.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

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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.

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