Borland Software Corp.s JBuilder X and Metrowerks Corp.s CodeWarrior Development Studio for Mac OS, the latest development tool sets to arrive for review at eWEEK Labs, attack what we might call the plague of developer choice. The tool options facing an application developer have ballooned enormously beyond what used to be the fairly simple choice of a high-level programming language. The decision tree now leafs out into an intimidating array of platforms, subplatforms and frameworks.
Developers want their tool sets to be correspondingly comprehensive, but that doesnt mean every possibility needs to be in the developers face every time a menu gets pulled down—or even every time the toolmakers bill must be paid.
After reviewing Borlands JBuilder X, we were surprised to find ourselves leaving the realm of Java development when we turned our attention to Version 9 of Metrowerks CodeWarrior Development Studio for Mac OS.
For years, weve thought of this product as combining Java and C/C++ tools in a unified setting. With Version 9, “Java support is receiving very strong consideration” as a possible future addition to the product, company officials told us, but the package that we received for review is for developers using C/C++ and Objective-C only.
The product is priced at $399 for Mac OS X development or $499 with the option of x86 code generation. “Classic Mac” support is a $100 add-on to either package.
The omission of Java aside, Version 9 will not disappoint productivity-oriented developers who want to make the most of Apples platform or who want to work in the cosmetically enhanced Unix environment of Mac OS X—with all the positive associations that Unix has for hard-core coders—while still grinding bits for deployment on x86.
CodeWarriors editing tools have extended their code completion aids to cover all three of the supported languages, and search facilities now provide new options such as looking only inside or outside comment blocks for targeted text strings.
With Apple now including a more-than-adequate set of its own development tools in the Version 10.3 “Panther” release of Mac OS X, Metrowerks is challenged to retain its favored position among Mac and multiplatform developers. The high technical quality and productivity of CodeWarrior are still strong points, but it remains to be seen if they will be enough to compete against whats now free.
Technology Editor Peter Coffee can be reached at [email protected].