Sun's Java Studio Creator, currently in public beta, targets a narrow but complex region of Java development. This becomes apparent the moment you create your first project. Studio Creator asks you to select the project type but really gives you a single choice: anything you want, as long as it's a Web application.
Installation is equally guided. JDK 1.4 is automatically installed for you. Likewise, both the PointBase database server and Sun's J2EE application server are installed and started automatically. When you launch the IDE (integrated development environment) for the first time, you have a complete development, deployment, and debugging environment for database-backed Web applications.
The similarities between Studio Creator and Microsoft's Visual Studio .Net are impossible to miss. The arrangement of the user interface is cut from the same pattern as Visual Studio's: a work area surrounded by squads of navigation and properties windows. You add components by adorning navigation trees with new elements, construct visual aspects by dragging JSF (JavaServer Faces) objects from a palette to the work area, and bind data sources to controls by dragging the proper leaf elements from the Data Sources tree. Every effort is made to keep you from soiling your hands with actual code until you absolutely must. Click the Run icon, and the project is compiled, deployed, and executed. Visual Studio developers will find this IDE very familiar.
Ultimately, Java Studio Creator's narrow focus is actually a strength. Because the IDE is not crawling with heavily nested menus, it's impossible to get lost. The process of building a Java Web application is virtually a set of sequential steps. As does KFC, Java Studio Creator does one thing, and it does it right.