Aqris updates Java refactoring tool

RefactorIT unites code audits and metrics with refactoring

Aqris Software announced this week the release of the latest version of its RefactorIT software for Java developers.

Aqris is a leading software developer in Estonia, which is emerging as one of Eastern Europe's foremost high-tech centers.

Aqris specializes in Java refactoring, which updates code design -- enhancing quality and efficiency -- without changing the basic functions the software is intended to carry out.

RefactorIT Version 1.3 adds a number of new features by uniting code audits and metrics with refactoring. The new audit features alert developers to code segments that do not adhere to current coding practices, drawing attention to portions of a program that should be given priority for refactoring, Aqris said.

The new version also features added code metrics for traditional indicators such as lines of code, code density and cyclomatic complexity. It also has full J2EE support, including support for JSPs (JavaServer Pages) and Servlets.

Aqris released RefactorIT in July 2002 and has already established a base of more than 200 clients, including Nokia, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor, Siemens, and Fujitsu.

One of the main features of RefactorIT, said Aqris Chief Executive Officer Oliver Wihler, is that rather than being embedded inside proprietary IDEs (integrated development environments) , RefactorIT plugs into the leading Java IDEs. Versions are available for Sun Microsystems' Sun ONE Studio, Borland Software's JBuilder, Oracle's Jdeveloper, and the open-source NetBeans and Emacs tools.

"We are pretty much unique in that we actually extend the value of your program," Wihler said. "It's totally integrated, so you don't have to leave the environment you're working in. That saves a lot of time and you don't have to retrain on a new tool."

RefactorIT is available for download, evaluation and purchase at http:/ A basic license costs $295, while an annual maintenance package, which allows clients to receive new versions free of charge, costs an extra $100.

Aqris was founded in 2000 by a group of IT consultants in the Estonian capital Tallinn. Wihler said the company now has 80 employees and an annual turnover just under $1 million.

Estonia -- now dubbed E-Stonia by some -- had little high-tech infrastructure when it unilaterally declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. But a flood of investment from Nordic countries, particularly nearby Finland, have jumpstarted the country's IT sector.

In a recent World Economic Forum report, Estonia ranked 8th out of 82 countries in putting the Internet to practical use. It ranked second in Internet banking and third in e-government.

Estonian programmers are also gaining a worldwide reputation. When Swedish software developer Niklas Zennstrom was looking for someone to devise a file-sharing program in 2000, he chose three unknown young Estonian programmers. They went on to write Kazaa, now the Internet's most downloaded program.