InfoWorld review: Top Java programming tools

Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, NetBeans, and Oracle JDeveloper continue Java's tradition of rich and diverse development tools

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Top Java programming tools: Other IDE options
It is a puzzle why so many vendors and open source volunteers choose to write IDEs for languages already well served by development tools. Just a few weeks ago, for example, InfoWorld reviewed nine (count 'em!) Python development tools. At one time, the Java IDE space was equally marked by a surfeit of options. However, as Java has matured, fewer new IDEs have been introduced and some veteran products, as described below, are facing retirement.

Embarcadero JBuilder. In its current incarnation, this product is merely a slight upgrade to JBuilder 2008. According to company spokespeople, Embarcadero -- which bought the IDE product line, then named CodeGear, from Borland in 2008 -- has no plans for substantial enhancements to JBuilder in the foreseeable future. Given that the company is actively developing its other IDEs, such as its Delphi offerings, it's safe to conclude that JBuilder has reached end of life.

Genuitec MyEclipse. MyEclipse is a subscription-based offering of Eclipse that includes a set of bundled plug-ins. As mentioned earlier in the Eclipse review, finding, installing, and managing Eclipse plug-ins is a chore that can, at times, be fairly complicated. MyEclipse facilitates this by offering versions of Eclipse with the plug-ins installed and fully integrated. Some plug-ins, such as a port of NetBeans' Matisse UI designer, were purpose-built by Genuitec. Subscriptions range in price from $32 per year to $199 per year and include support.

IBM Rational Application Developer. This IDE (affectionately dubbed "RAD") is part of a series of somewhat different development environments shipped by Big Blue. These are listed at rather hefty prices ($2,150 retail) that are usually reduced to near zero when customers buy other software products, such as IBM's WebSphere JEE server. RAD and its brethren are built on a base consisting of Eclipse and adorned with role-specific extras. For example, the architect edition has extensive UML modeling tools. The Business Developer version has support for IBM's 4GL and so forth. If your site is intimately tied to WebSphere, then these tools make sense. But for most purposes an alternative such as MyEclipse (see previous) will provide the similar functionality at a better price.

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