CodeGear Shifts onto Rails

Opinion: CodeGear, Borland's developer tools arm, has welcomed a new CEO and is offering new tools for Ruby on Rails and C++ development.

Borland is back! Whoops, I mean CodeGear, the developer tools arm of Borland, is back. Borland, the parent, packed up and moved to Austin. Yee-haw. Go Longhorns and all that, but the Borland tools business belongs right there in the Valley where its roots are.

CodeGear remains in the original Borland home base of Scotts Valley, Calif. I met with Borlands, I mean CodeGears, new CEO, Jim Douglas, last week at JavaOne in San Francisco. Also on hand for the meeting were David Intersimone, vice president of developer relations and chief evangelist, and Michael Swindell, vice president of products and strategy of CodeGear.

It was my first time meeting Douglas, as it was his coming-out party. I was impressed with the guy. One of the first things he said was that CodeGear can do a lot more to serve its customers up front—that customer service starts before the sale. And he said he plans to put resources into that.

"Operationally, we have a lot of work to do," Douglas said, noting that he wants CodeGears interactions with customers, from pre-sale to product sale to installation and maintenance, to be "world-class."

Douglas also said the IDE (integrated development environment) is not dead.

"The next phase for me is with things like open source and the ability to integrate all these components effectively," Douglas said. "Our core competency is we understand software development and software engineering, and we view it from the IDE standpoint."

Swindell said CodeGear is 100 percent dedicated to the developer community, is focused on optimization of code, individual and team processes, and possesses a breadth of technical innovation across languages and applications.

One of those languages is Ruby, and specifically the popular Ruby-based Ruby on Rails framework.

On May 14, CodeGear announced an IDE for Ruby on Rails that is now available for beta testing and is scheduled to ship in the second half of 2007.

CodeGear introduced the technology at RailsConf in Portland, Ore., and the new offering provides productivity features designed to allow both new and experienced Rails developers to build Ruby on Rails applications efficiently and quickly.

David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails, said, "Its encouraging to see the Rails ecosystem extend itself to include commercial tool vendors. I heartily welcome CodeGear to the arena and Im excited to see what they come up with. Its a wonderful time for users and vendors alike in the world of Rails."

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about CodeGears new CEO, Jim Douglas.

In a CodeGear press release, Swindell said, "Ruby on Rails has become a serious Web application platform because Ruby on Rails makes it extremely fast and easy to develop rich, data-driven Web 2.0 applications with minimal coding. However, the magic behind the productivity also introduces new challenges for developers building, growing and maintaining real-world production-level Web applications."

In addition, Swindell said, "Our new Ruby on Rails technology addresses these challenges by going beyond just editing and debugging Ruby scripts. It provides a comprehensive Rails-centric development environment [that] both initiates beginners and streamlines experts. Also, based on new CodeGear IDE innovations, it is the first tool weve developed that will likely appeal equally to command-line, IDE and visual developers."

A new feature known as "Commanders" merges the power of the command line with the ease of use and productivity of the IDE, Wizards and Code Insights, Swindell said.

"With Ruby theres a lot of command-line stuff and we usually hide it, but with Ruby on Rails we want to show the developers whats going on," Swindell said. "We merged the console and the IDE together."

Moreover, CodeGear is leveraging open-source technologies and open-source projects in its Ruby on Rails efforts, Swindell said. The company is actively supporting the Eclipse DLTK (Dynamic Languages Toolkit) for Ruby with patches and code contributions.

"We plan to be very active in the Ruby on Rails community from business to promotion to code contribution," Swindell said. "Its a very exciting language and platform for CodeGear and we plan to participate in any way that we can add value."

Also on May 14, CodeGear announced its C++Builder 2007 product, which provides support for Microsoft Windows Vista, enabling developers to seamlessly upgrade existing C++ applications to support Vista and rapidly build new Windows applications that take advantage of the new Vista Aero user interfaces, company officials said.

"C++Builder 2007 is designed to significantly cut Vista application development time and costs," Swindell said. "Customers have shown savings of up to 80 percent in development time for GUI-intensive applications."

/zimages/2/28571.gifGuru Jakob Nielsen offers advice on designing applications for usability. Click here to watch the video.

Meanwhile, Douglas, who talks with his hands a lot, said CodeGear has an annual run rate of $75 million and he is looking ahead to sustained profitability.

Intersimone said he welcomes Douglas and his viewpoint to the company.

"Sometimes were so close to the product and the community that to have a guy like Jim come in with a fresh look at everything is great," Intersimone said.

The next steps for CodeGear include redefining and expanding the definition of team development, enabling a new level of efficiency for communication and collaboration in the software development ecosystem, and acting as a catalyst for the growth of the software development ecosystem, Douglas said.

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