Java Tools Community Forms

Oracle, BEA and Sun lead a pack of 10 founding companies. Two major players are notably absent from the group: IBM and Borland.

A group of leading Java software companies Tuesday banded together to create the Java Tools Community (JTC), with the notable absence of two major players: IBM and Borland Software Corp.

The JTC effort—led by Oracle Corp., BEA Systems Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc.—includes 10 founding companies intent on increasing Java "toolability" by promoting and developing Java Specification Requests (JSRs) that support interoperability in the design-time area. The group defined "toolability" as the measure of how simple it is to build tools around various technologies. In addition to the big three leaders, the JTC membership includes Compuware Corp., Embarcadero Technologies Inc., Iopsis Software, JetBrains Inc., Quest Software Inc., SAP AG and SAS Institute Inc.

In addition, the JTC announced founding customers including US Sprint and Verizon. The JTC officially announced itself Tuesday in a conference call with reporters and representatives from all 10 vendor companies.

/zimages/5/28571.gifTo read more about the Java Tools Community effort, click here.

Joe Keller, vice president of Java and Web services at Sun, said the JTC will be like a sister organization to the Java Community process (JCP) and will push to enhance JSRs and to improve the JCP overall. Also, the JTC will work to promote interoperability in Java tools and will stand as a forum for communication by Java developers across the industry, organization officials said.

Dave Cotter, director of developer standards at BEA in San Jose, Calif., said there are three forms of participation in the JTC: core members that will make up a steering committee, general members whose ranks will come primarily from Java software companies, and community members who will provide customer input. Cotter said that as more customers come into the JTC, "we will see a migration of the customer setting the trend" for things in the JTC such as which JSRs to promote and other issues such as interoperability with Microsofts .Net. "The customer and the group at large will be the ultimate arbiter" of the direction the JTC takes on many issues, he said. Participation in the JTC is free.

Rich Main, director of Java development environments at SAS in Cary, N.C., said although Java is the premier software platform today, its successes have brought challenges such as a steep learning curve, increased costs and the need for greater interoperability in the design-time phase, and that the JTC will help with this. In addition, Main said the JTC will provide domain expertise to the JCP and will maximize the tools expertise on Java specifications and work to increase the commonality between tools, "possibly even a common build subsystem."

Ted Farrell, chief architect and senior director of strategy for application development tools at Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., said the success of the JTC will benefit the JCP. "The results of the JTC will be stronger specs in the JCP," Farrell said. "We hope to have things like the JTC endorsement," for endorsing certain JSRs for use in specific cases, he added.

Next page: IBM, Borland Missing in Action