Genuitec Adds AJAX to Eclipse Toolset

MyEclipse 4.1 goes after Web 2.0 developers and supports lightweight J2EE alternatives.

With the release of MyEclipse 4.1, Genuitec LLC is going after the Web 2.0 developer by adding AJAX support to its Eclipse-based integrated development environment.

MyEclipse 4.1, the latest release of the Plano, Texas, companys IDE, will be available for download in mid-December, Genuitec officials said.

With the new version of MyEclipse, Genuitec is proving its toolset can go across the Java application development lifecycle, from heavyweight J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) development to lighter weight Java-based alternative frameworks such as Hibernate and Spring. In addition, the company is proving that it can provide a low-cost IDE based on the open-source Eclipse platform and still make money, said Maher Masri, president of Genuitec.

The MyEclipse Enterprise Workbench 4.1 will be available Dec. 15 and will support AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), offer an integrated image editor and include other new Web 2.0 development capabilities, said Todd Williams, vice president of technology at Genuitec.

Williams said Genuitec announced the release of MyEclipse 4.0 at the end of August, but had been working on adding AJAX support several months before that. The 4.0 release extended Eclipse 3.1 to include support for the UML (Unified Modeling Language), XML, Struts, JavaServer Faces, HTML, JavaServer Pages, JavaScript, Cascading Stylesheets, EJB (Enterprise JavaBeans), Tapestry, Hibernate, Spring and database/SQL/ERD (Entity Relationship Diagrams) technologies.

In addition, MyEclipse 4.1 offers Web 2.0 development features including: early access to MyEclipse W2TP (Web 2.0 Tools Platform) for lightweight next-generation post-J2EE Java Web applications, drag-n-drop rapid application development features with near zero hand coding; an Eclipse-based full-featured image editor with an extensive image framework; and the new Eclipse-based AJAX tools including integrated JavaScript editing and debugging capabilities.

"With 4.1 we jump on the AJAX bandwagon," Williams said. "Were the first AJAX development tool on Eclipse."

Wayne Parrot, vice president of product management at Genuitec, said the company had been working on AJAX support for at least six months and continues to look at Web 2.0 technologies and lighter weight development alternatives. He said the MyEclipse toolset will continue to address the demand from developers for lightweight alternatives to J2EE.

"Our toolset we think will hit a sweet spot not being addressed at the moment," Parrot said.

Part of that is seen in MyEclipses support for Hibernate and Spring, two popular development frameworks that many developers use together, but whose creators have tended not to get along so well. MyEclipse is acting like a Switzerland in this situation, the company said.

"Were making them [Hibernate and Spring] fit together so you can easily use them and switch between them," Parrot said.

Masri said this is part of Genuitecs response to developer "resistance to the complexity of the J2EE stack. That trend is not likely to stop because people like the simplified solutions. And thats something weve been about since day 1—helping our customers write applications quickly."

With that in mind, Parrot said Genuitec is "looking closely at Ruby on Rails," another lightweight Web development platform, for possible support in an upcoming release of the MyEclipse toolset.

Masri noted that AJAX, while a new acronym is not based on new technology, where Ruby on Rails is. "The challenge is that companies are less likely to jump on a new standard as they are to use new practices of old standards," he said speaking of AJAX and Ruby on Rails. "Its more likely the Java community will recognize the movement to Ruby on Rails and provide a port or something" through the JCP (Java Community Process), he said.

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The new MyEclipse image editor supports both rich client platform and AJAX development, Williams said.

With 4.1, Genuitec maintains its low pricing for its toolset. The Standard Edition is available for an annual subscription of $29.95, and the Professional Edition is available for $49.95. The Professional Edition includes UML support, an Oracle database connector and JavaScript debugging.

Selling its product at an affordable price has paid off for Genuitec and proves that Eclipse does provide a platform for a software company to actually make money on an Eclipse-based IDE, Masri said.

"We saw about a 170 percent rise in sales since we released 4.0," Masri said. "And weve seen a 130 percent increase in revenue on our Eclipse-specific products."

Genuitec supports more than 180,000 developers in more than 7,000 organizations, and the company adds between 12,000 and 20,000 new developers each month, Masri said.

Genuitec began as a consulting company and still maintains a consulting arm of its business. The company moved into the product business after "we started out building tools for ourselves," Masri said. Genuitec began by supporting J2EE and transitioned to a purely Eclipse-focused company about three years ago on both the consulting and product sides of the house, he said.

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