An invitation is extended

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2003-12-31 Print this article Print

to other key players."> According to sources, other companies involved and invited to participate include Compuware Corp., SAP AG, Sybase Corp., SAS Institute Inc. and Telelogic Corp. In addition, invitations went out to Java tools heavyweights Borland Software Corp. and IBM, whose participation could make or break the effort. But sources said as yet neither company has moved to join. Officials from both companies said they are still considering whether and how to participate.
"The group is looking to tackle fragmentation in the Java market from the tools perspective, not the platform perspective," said a source at one of the companies involved.
"It obviously makes sense that tools vendors, who see the benefits in increased interoperability among various Java tools, would be interested in coming up with some sort of a plan that wouldnt necessarily call for the extreme nature of Eclipse—and largely commoditizing it and removing the IP [intellectual property] equation, yet significantly increasing interoperability," said Mark Driver, an analyst with Gartner Inc., Stanford, Conn. According to a source familiar with the groups plans, although the effort is supposed to build a broad Java ecosystem for everyone, "really it is an effort for the industry to agree on a level of commoditization for Java tools and to ensure that IBM Eclipse does not steal everyones thunder." At the same time, part of the groups plan would be to have the Eclipse organization join and support this effort. Said another source: "Sun, Oracle and BEA are basically playing catch-up and they want to put Eclipse in its place." Yet, a source close to the JTC said: "This is not an initiative perceived to be confrontational to or opposed to Eclipse." And although IBM and Borland appear poised to participate in the JTC, they both have less to gain in joining such an effort, as both companies have thriving Java tools businesses. Borland already has an ecosystem around its JBuilder tool due to its open tool API platform that helps developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) develop additional functionality. •Borland recently announced Janeva 6, its integration tool that offers connectivity between Java, .NET and CORBA applications. To read more, click here. "I think that Java IDE [integrated development environment] interoperability would be good for the developers in that it will drive down the cost of IDEs and would allow developers to pick and choose the IDE components that best suite their needs," said Nader Karimi, chief information officer at the Screen Actors Guild Producers Pension and Health Plans in Burbank, Calif. Joe Lindsay, chief technology officer at eBuilt Inc. of Costa Mesa, Calif., supports the effort. "My philosophy is to enable and empower whoever is closest to the problem as best you can, and this often means letting developers use whatever tool they feel most productive with," he said. Michel Genard, product manager of the hardware-assisted and standalone tools division at Wind River Systems Inc., based in Alameda, Calif., and a relatively new member of the Eclipse consortium, said tools users need more options. "The market is growing and customers need more options to be able to provide more interoperability between different types of tools," Genard said.

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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