SUCCESSFULLY MANAGING large application development projects requires keeping a team of developers in lockstep while harnessing their varied skill sets, including Web, Java, and database expertise. The latest release in IBM's WebSphere Studio line of development tools, WebSphere Studio Application Developer 4.0, aims to simplify this process.
Building on IBM's Studio Workbench, Application Developer offers a well-tuned IDE (integrated development environment) for building, testing, and deploying J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) applications and enabling Web services deployment in compliance with standards for SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration), and WSDL (Web Services Development Language).
With a multitude of well-developed wizards, Application Developer provides tools that run the development gamut, from server-side database integration to client-side Web page image processing. It also offers strong testing facilities and good application performance profiling and analysis. Basic provisions for team development help make Application Developer worthy of consideration for companies looking to improve productivity in small and midsize e-business application development projects. But if you're looking for a breadth of platform options, integration capabilities, or support for large teams, consider products such as Borland's Enterprise Studio for Java.
Application Developer comes ready to deploy only to the WebSphere Application Server and Apache Tomcat. Further, it is a Windows-only tool, and it lacks some of the scope already available to developers in VisualAge for Java Enterprise Edition.
Out of the box, Application Developer provides everything necessary to get started with EJB (Enterprise JavaBeans) and Web services development, including an embedded application server, WebSphere Developer Edition, for deployment testing. Almost every tool in this kit offers a wizard-driven interface displaying dynamic, context-relevant information that streamlines the task at hand and helps minimize manual coding errors. Application Developer can also read from and publish to UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration) servers, generating all requisite WSDL (Web Services Description Language).
Although this package does not implement WSIL (Web Services Inspection Language), used for direct services discovery, it does provide other useful capabilities such as the straightforward building of services from SQL queries and DB2 stored procedures. We found the database modeling and XML tools to be among the stronger features of this package.
The database wizard made quick work of mapping relational database tables to EJB components, with real-time connections to databases for easy table importing. And the Visual XML environment offered impressive capabilities for building and modifying our XML resources. From creating schemas and mapping XSLTs (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations), to wizardry for migrating SQL queries to XML, the upshot was a noticeable shortcut to development.