From back end to front, Application Developer rounds out its capabilities with a strong Web page construction platform. In addition to standard HTML items and style sheets, we were able to quickly build data-driven JSPs (JavaServer Pages) and Web services interfaces with drag-and-drop ease. There's even an image editor for creating line art and manipulating graphics. Although the capabilities are not going to inspire graphic artists to throw out Adobe Photoshop, at the very least this tool provides an additional resource for making last-minute design tweaks.
Application Developer shines in support of productivity and efficiency through its multipaned, roles-based project views, giving Java developers access to pertinent data -- such as source code, database tables, and EJBs --while focusing Web developers on components relevant to their design efforts. Application Developer maintains harmony by managing all elements in a common data store and then automatically updating resources and links through all tiers as necessary.
This package provides some good, basic team-based development tools supporting CVS (Concurrent Versions System), the open-source version control system, as well as Rational ClearCase LT, suitable for small project workgroups.
When it came to testing and debugging, we found Application Developer offered robust support. We were able to test our enterprise bean interfaces using the included Web-based EJB test client, and the unit-test environment enabled localized testing of our servlets, JSPs, and HTML files.
The debug facilities offer all the traditional accoutrements: breakpoints, variable examination, and interaction with running processes, for example. Application Developer also provides for live server-side and remote code debugging, a plus for distributed environments.
The profiling and analysis tools allow developers to sneak a peek at running applications, view thread interactions, and glean performance metrics that can help to isolate performance problems and optimize application throughput.
In our initial testing of Version 4.0, we found several anomalies, such as difficulties with WSDL and conflicts with Microsoft .Net SOAP messages. In the interim, IBM has since released Version 4.0.2, which addresses many of the issues and adds support for Windows XP.
Although developers may already find many features of Application Developer in existing toolkits, this IDE streamlines many aspects of J2EE and Web services development, promising time-saving efficiencies in smaller development projects.