JBuilder 6 Extends Its Reach - Page 2

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Developers probably spend more time living in their development tools than in their own homes, which makes a comfortable fit really important.

In Version 6 of its venerable JBuilder tool line, which is available now, Borland Software Corp. extends the tool in new areas to cover emerging Java technologies such as EJB (Enterprise JavaBeans) 2.0 and Web services. (The latter is a download posted after JBuilder shipped.)

JBuilder also gains highly useful code reorganization and testing features, which will be of help to any Java developer. In eWeek Labs tests, for example, JBuilder 6s integrated unit testing features let us write test cases and see results in the development environment, and JBuilders automatically generated UML (Unified Modeling Language) diagrams let us visually navigate code. The products new source code reorganization features (also known as refactoring features) made one-step operations out of renaming a Java class and moving a class into a different package.

JBuilders source code management continues to be excellent. Weve been using JBuilder 6 for two weeks now, developing Java code for a database benchmark, and its integrated file versioning features (see screen) have been invaluable. Several server-based source code control systems are also supported, one of which, CVS (Concurrent Versions System), is installed with JBuilder.

Although JBuilder 6 supports Web site development using JSP (JavaServer Pages), we didnt find it as strong in this area as it is in back-end business logic development. Those developing Web or mobile applications using JSP will find tools such as Sun Microsystems Inc.s Forte for Java or Macromedia Inc.s JRun Studio more oriented to their needs. A number of JBuilder 6 features, including variable name completion, tag matching on "<%" and "%>" and HTML tag completion, werent available when editing JSP files. We also would like to have cross-file search-and-replace features in the editor—only cross-file searches are available.

With Sun offering its very capable free Java tools, price competition is heating up in this space. (For eWeek Labs Jan. 14 review of Oracle9i JDeveloper 5.0, go to www.eweek.com/links.) JBuilder comes in three versions: the $2,999 JBuilder 6 Enterprise; the $999 JBuilder 6 Professional (which leaves out EJB and Web services features); and the $54.95 JBuilder 6 Personal, which is only for personal, noncommercial use. (If downloaded from Borlands Web site, JBuilder 6 Personal is free.)

All versions run on Windows, Linux, Solaris and Mac OS X. Upgrades to JBuilder 6 Enterprise are $1,899 from JBuilder 5 Enterprise; upgrades to JBuilder 6 Professional from older versions of Professional are $399.

JBuilder 6 Enterprise, the version we tested, includes support for J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) 1.3, the new Java application server programming standard. JBuilder can deploy J2EE-based projects to WebLogic 6.0 and 6.1 (we used WebLogic 6.1 in tests), IBMs WebSphere Application Server 3.5 and 4.0, and iPlanet e-Commerce Solutions iPlanet Application Server 6.0, as well as Borlands AppServer 4.5 and Enterprise Server AppServer Edition 5.0.

The big addition in J2EE 1.3 is EJB 2.0, and JBuilder 6 has greatly revamped EJB support. Instead of the wizards used in previous versions, JBuilder 6 has a new visual modeling component to create Entity Beans that let us reverse-engineer database tables to matching Entity Beans, rename objects, create relationships between Entity Beans using drag-and-drop, and edit resulting Java code. JBuilder 6 allows changes in both the generated Entity Bean code and in the visual tools, keeping the two versions in sync.

West Coast Technical Director Timothy Dyck can be reached at timothy_dyck@ziffdavis.com.