JDeveloper Is Hard Not to Like

Tech Analysis: Release 3 is standards-friendly and Oracle-aware.

When eWeek labs reviewed the first release of Oracles JDeveloper 10g in July 2004, the only downside we found in that capable Java tool set was its lack of support for Apple Computers Mac OS X.

That was a noteworthy flaw, given Apples offering of a solid Java development platform whose market share among Web developers appears to be four to five times its share in the general population. Well, Oracle has addressed that problem and has made many other improvements in this springs JDeveloper 10g Release 3.

Its now even harder to find anything to criticize about JDeveloper, especially since the products debut price of $995 for unlimited personal use has since fallen to "free" for all developers.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read a review of NetBeans 5.0.

JDeveloper 10g may also be the most quickly learned development environment on the market. That is thanks in large part to a well-implemented "cue cards" feature that clearly led us through the steps involved in typical tasks during eWEEK Labs tests.

Many developers have grown blasé about unlimited Undo facilities in source code editors. But theyll take notice of the integrated automatic versioning and differencing in the JDeveloper editor, which creates and maintains versions automatically based on operations such as saving or refactoring code.

Release 3 boasts a greatly lengthened list of refactoring operations. These include dragging and dropping of classes in order to regroup them into a package, along with version-control integration: Any file affected by a refactoring operation (such as renaming a class) will automatically be offered to the developer for checkout if its not already available for editing.

Given the massive momentum of the open-source Eclipse, with NetBeans consuming much of the remaining developer mind share, Oracle needs to establish that JDevelopers strengths for Oracle database development dont come at the expense of support for community standards.

Release 3 responds to that challenge with preview support for JSR-198, the nascent standard interface for development environment extensions. It also offers import and modeling capability for Microsofts SQL Server, IBMs DB2, MySQL and other popular databases as well as Oracles.

Developers will find integrated support for Oracles own database application development facilities such as PL/SQL objects. Overall, we found JDeveloper 10g Release 3 a visually polished, easily learned, highly interoperable and broadly capable tool set for many Java-related tasks.

Peter Coffee can be reached at peter_coffee@ziffdavis.com.

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