Java IDE adds Application Factories for code reuse

CodeGear offers JBuilder 2008, which also features support for Struts, JavaServer Faces, and more

With a release of the JBuilder 2008 IDE for Java development on Tuesday, CodeGear is adding a capability called Application Factories, which enables code reuse and makes it easier to update applications.

Application Factories features a methodology and tools to navigate framework choices, open source, internal code, and deregulated technology standards to determine use and reuse, CodeGear said. Developers can communicate intent, capture instructions and recommendations, and point to resources.

"The methodology [behind Application Factories] is really based on supporting application development from an applications perspective," said Michael Swindell, vice president of products and strategy at CodeGear.

"We create an IDE within JBuilder 2008, which is really intended for a continuous round-trip development cycle," he said.

Information is captured about how and why an application was created. Developers can attach scripts and tags.

CodeGear's Application Factories concept differs from Microsoft's similarly named Software Factories, said analyst Vishwanath Venugopalan of The 451 Group.

"Software Factories encapsulates patterns of usage and reuse at the source code level, whereas Application Factories capture patterns in how the development tool itself is used," Venugopalan said. "In other words, Application Factories encourages capturing and reuse of development best practices rather than architecture and design patterns."

With Application Factories, a generic IDE becomes an application-specific IDE, CodeGear said. Reusable code is delivered as modules that contain code and knowledge about purpose and design. Developers can choose from modules stored in a metadata repository. Or developers can create their own modules that can be stored in the repository for later reuse.

Based on the Eclipse 3.3 platform and Eclipse Web Tools Platform 2.0, JBuilder 2008 also features an Instantiations Swing Designer, providing a visual layout tool to help developers construct Swing-based GUIs.

With JBuilder 2008, CodeGear is offering a commercial IDE that adds value on top of the base, free Eclipse IDE. For some developers, the base Eclipse IDE is sufficient, but others want more, Swindell said.

"There's also a very large number of customers who want to know that they can get enterprise-level support, that they can get regular product updates, that they can get developer support, and those things all come in with a commercial product," he said. Capabilities such as Application Factories will not be found in the base Eclipse IDE, Swindell said.

"This release of JBuilder should be better able to hold its own against the free Eclipse IDE than the previous one because it contains Application Factories and the well-regarded Swing Designer under partnership with Instantiations," Venugopalan said.

Other features in JBuilder 2008 include:

* Struts 1, Struts 2, and JavaServer Faces support

* Updated support for commercial and open source Java application servers

* Collaboration and team development with TeamInsight and ProjectAssist

* Code coverage, memory, and CPU profiling

* Thread debugging and request analyzer

* UML (Unified Modeling Language)

* Code archaeology, featuring tools for mining of application, focused on source code

* Code metrics and audits

* Developer support for Java Platform Enterprise Edition 5 (Java EE 5) and Java Development Kit 5

Supported on Windows XP (SP2), Windows Vista, Mac OS X (10.4/Tiger), and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, JBuilder is offered in Turbo, Professional, and Enterprise Editions.

The Enterprise product offers an enterprise-class Java IDE with Application Factories, collaboration and team development support, and UML modeling code archaeology. It costs $1,499, or $750 to upgrade.

The Turbo edition is a free product with basic features to build Java applications. Professional, priced at $499, or $250 to upgrade, adds expanded support for Java EE 5 and Web services as well as code profiling, performance-tuning tools, Swing capabilities, and basic UML modeling.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.