Sun Goes Out on Development Limb with New Java Tools

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2004-05-03 Print this article Print

New Java tool initiatives in open source, component-oriented development and high-end projects put Sun's credibility on the line.

Sun Microsystems Inc. finds itself lately in growing agreement with Microsoft Corp. on interoperability goals and with IBM on the significance of open-source offerings. Its good news for developers that Suns new sociability is taking tangible shape in its trio of new or updated Java tool sets.

In a three-month span, beginning last month and ending in June, newly software-centric Sun will give developers substantial signs of its aspirations and its capabilities in supporting open-source platforms, empowering component-oriented developers and taming multitier complexity for high-end projects.

Sun provided eWEEK Labs with engineer-supported access to the shipping versions of its high-end Java Studio Enterprise 6 suite, along with the open-source NetBeans 3.6 foundation (from the Sun-sponsored for that suites integrated development environment. The company also provided us with an advance look at the early-access version of its midlevel Java Studio Creator, the release of which is planned to coincide with Junes JavaOne conference in San Francisco.

Review: Java Studio Enterprise 6
Review: NetBeans 3.6
Review: Java Studio Creator Early Access Our tests show that NetBeans 3.6 adds productivity aids of the kind that used to distinguish premium-priced commercial tools. The NetBeans 3.6 foundation gets Java Studio Enterprise 6 off to a strong start, although Suns ambitions for point-and-click server configuration in that suite were not yet fully realized in the version we tested.

Java Studio Creator demonstrates how far Java has come in the much-desired direction of drag-and-drop development. The shortfalls in capability and performance encountered during eWEEK Labs tests are significant but not alarming for a product still in beta.

Sun is daring greatly by putting itself to so many tests from notoriously demanding developers. Its credibility as an enabler of the Java platform is on the line, but our tests suggest that it will survive the challenge.

Technology Editor Peter Coffee can be reached at

Check out eWEEKs Developer & Web Services Center at for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.
Be sure to add our developer and Web services news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  
Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developers' technical requirements on the company's 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 company's 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.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel