Borlands For-Sale Tools Place Well in IDE Competition

IBM Rational wins out in integrated development environment comparison, but Borland has a good showing as second-ranked IDE among developers. Microsoft and Sun tools also fare well; Eclipse ranks near the bottom despite being the fastest-growing IDE.

Despite being targeted for divestiture by their owner, Borland Softwares development tools fared very well in a comparison of application development tools recently released by Evans Data.

Borlands JBuilder Java IDE (integrated development environment) came in either first or second in several categories in the study, particularly those dealing with performance. And JBuilder was ranked second overall to IBM Rational Developer in terms of combined overall rankings among the nine IDE developers rated.

Borlands JBuilder won top scores for the core IDE tools and for performance, prompting Janel Garvin, the Evans Data analyst who wrote the report, to say, "This presents a huge opportunity for some company to buy some of the best tools on the market. Perhaps Oracle should make this acquisition. Their Developer Suite IDE is not well-loved by its own users."

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about Borlands JBuilder 2006.

Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Evans Data conducted the study in November 2005 and released its findings late February. Evans interviewed 700 developers about nine IDEs: BEA WebLogic Workshop, JBuilder, Eclipse, IBMs Rational Web Developer or Application Developer, IBMs WebSphere Studio, Macromedia Studio MX, Microsoft Visual Studio .Net, Oracle 9i Developer Suite/Oracle 10g, and Sun Studio Java.

Microsofts Visual Studio took top marks for the most frequently used IDE, with 26.8 percent of the responses. Visual Studio far outstripped the second place IDE, Eclipse, which garnered 12.7 percent of the responses. The next three spots, respectively, were taken by Macromedia Studio MX, Oracle 9i Developer Suite and Borland JBuilder. Sun Microsystems NetBeans, which wasnt on the list to be ranked, but users wrote it in, came in ninth, with 3.3 percent of the responses, ahead of BEA WebLogic Workshop and others.

"Microsoft Visual Studio continues to have a commanding lead in the IDE market," the study said. However, "Eclipse provides excitement in this table as the fastest-growing IDE anywhere today. … Although Eclipses users did not give it high marks for most of its features, this juggernaut is the one to watch as it continues to take market share."

The impact of Eclipse is largely responsible for Borland deciding to divest its IDE tools, observers said.

/zimages/4/28571.gifTo read more about the effect Eclipse is having on Borland, read "Borland IDE Tools Get Eclipsed."

Developers who responded to the survey were asked to rank each technology, and the rankings were assigned a numerical value.

Borlands JBuilder topped the compiler category with a 227.8 ranking, followed by Visual Studio with 215.4, Eclipse (211.1) and WebLogic Workshop, in that order. Oracles Developer Suite came in last.

Meanwhile, IBM Rational Developer won for best combined overall ranking, with a ranking of 2,560.2. Borland JBuilder was second with a 2,491.1 ranking, and Sun Studio Java was third with 2,361.6. Microsoft Visual Studio was fourth, and Eclipse was seventh overall out of nine.

"Rational was a powerhouse of development tools when IBM bought the company, and IBM has handled the acquisition beautifully, not letting the quality of the Rational products slip at all," the study said.

Meanwhile, JBuilder also took the top spot in the debugger category with a 206.9 ranking, followed closely by Visual Studio with 201.9. After that IBM WebSphere Studio (189.0), Eclipse and Sun Studio Java rounded out the top five, in that order. Macromedia came in last.

However, Macromedia Studio MX won for best editor with a 215.9 ranking, followed by Microsoft Visual Studio with 209.6, Eclipse (193.7), Sun Java Studio and IBM Rational Developer, respectively.

Yet, IBM Rational Developer came in first in the make/build function category, with a 201.5 ranking. Borland JBuilder was close behind by just 3 ranking points (198.6). Sun Studio Java (190.5), Eclipse and Visual Studio, respectively, rounded out the top five.

For best help or documentation, Macromedia Studio MX came in first with a ranking of 179.9. BEA WebLogic Workshop was second with 171.5, IBM Rational Developer was third with 170.8, IBM WebSphere Studio was fourth, and JBuilder was fifth.

But back to a performance-related category, JBuilder had the top-ranking profiler, with a 183.0 ranking. IBM Rational Developer was next with 173.2, followed by Sun Studio Java (161.4), IBM WebSphere Studio and Macromedia Studio MX, respectively. Eclipse came in last in the profiler category.

IBM Rational, which pioneered modeling with UML (Unified Modeling Language), took top honors for modeling and design tools with a ranking of 187.4. Macromedia Studio MX was second with 177.9, followed by Sun Studio Java (169.4), Borland JBuilder and IBM WebSphere Studio, in that order. Eclipse came in last.

IBM Rational developer also rated best in terms of available sample applications with a 168.4 ranking, followed by Sun Studio Java at 158.1 and Borland JBuilder at 155.4. Eclipse came in last.

Microsofts Visual Studio topped all others in terms of libraries and frameworks support with a ranking of 191.8, but IBM Rational Developer followed close behind with a 189.4 ranking.

Regarding compiler performance, JBuilder won with a 195.8 ranking, and Microsoft Visual Studio came in second with a 183.9 ranking. IBM Rational Developer was third with 182.1.

JBuilder also won for performance of resulting applications, pulling in a ranking of 194.5. Sun Java Studio was second with 186.6, and Visual Studio was third with 186.3.

Macromedia won for ease of use, taking a 194.6 ranking for its IDE product. Visual Studio was second with a 187.3 ranking, and JBuilder was third at 170.8. BEAs WebLogic Workshop was last.

Eclipse, with its plug-in architecture won top honors for "ability to integrate third-party tools." Eclipse had a 203.9 ranking. IBM Rational Developer was second with 184.4, and Visual Studio was third with 145.6. Oracle Developer Suite came in last.

Oracle "consistently got the poorest marks in many categories, including compiler/interpreter, editor, libraries/frameworks and the ability to integrate third-party tools," the study said.

/zimages/4/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.