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IBM, Borland upgrade developer tools

IBM, Borland upgrade developer tools

Borland Software and IBM announced upgrades to their development tools this week designed to support heterogeneous environments and more closely link software creation to business goals.

IBM unveiled new Rational developer tools, and Borland rolled out the new version of its Delphi Windows development tool. With these announcements, both are maneuvering to infuse their platforms with business process automation commonly used in other areas of enterprise operations like core product design and manufacturing.

"What we're seeing today in IT shops is the need to take another leap from just thinking about developing new applications and deploying new applications to thinking more strategically about IT priorities and how the overall IT assets and resources can be best matched to deliver business value," said Melissa Webster, an analyst at IDC.

IBM announced this week that all of its Rational development tools will be based on the open Eclipse 3.0 framework. This will support the integration of modeling, testing and requirements management tools at a deeper level so that all those methods to build applications can be used consistently, Webster added.

IBM also launched tools such as a portfolio manager that will be folded into Rational through an acquisition and a new software architect, software modeler and manual tester.

The software modeler includes support for Unified Modeling Language 2.0 for visual-based modeling to document and communicate different views of a system. IBM Rational will continue to support its other modeling solutions, IBM Rational Rose and IBM Rational XDE.

"IBM is very well positioned to help its customers take a more strategic look at the software development process," Webster said. "Rational was an early preacher of the gospel to integrate processes into the life cycle. IBM clearly understands that breaking down the barriers between teams in the software development process is very important."

To support both Java and .Net developers, IBM has introduced new features into its existing Rational tools. IBM Rational Web Developer for WebSphere (formerly WebSphere Studio Site Developer) and IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere (formerly WebSphere Studio Application Developer) will include functionality designed to simplify Java development by automating tasks and reducing manual coding. The Rational Functional tester includes testing customization and other features designed to support .Net users.

Meanwhile, Borland this week announced Delphi 2005, the latest version of its Windows development tool, that will incorporate support for Win32, .Net, Delphi and C# in one development environment while integrating with Borland application life-cycle management tools.

Previously code-named Diamondback, the new version of Delphi is designed to support Borland's overarching Software Delivery Optimization plan to apply business process automation to software development tools.

"It's really the first time that a Windows development tool has come out that has a vision of optimizing for developers both new Windows development and projects for the migration to more modern architectures," said Michael Swindell, director of product marketing for developer tools at Borland.

With Delphi 2005, Borland is providing an alternative to the end-to-end development platforms being offered by IBM and Microsoft, said Mark Driver, an analyst at Gartner in Stamford. Many companies that have application development platforms from both Microsoft and IBM find features like testing, quality assurance and source control in both suites, which can create more complexity than is required, he added.

"Companies that find themselves supporting application development efforts in both camps may find value in Borland's suite for consistency, consolidation and integration where they would not find this from either Microsoft or IBM Rational," Driver said. "Borland is one of the very few pure tools vendors of any serious size left in the industry, (and) they have to play both sides of the fence. Borland is more aggressive than either Microsoft or IBM in providing connectivity solutions from one platform to the other."

Omar Sayed, CEO of Chandler, Succeed, has used Delphi to build commerce platforms for his customers to store data and operate online auctions. The new features -- especially support for Win32, .Net and C# in one environment -- will give company developers "more scope to what they can do without having to go outside and bridge things in different environments," Sayed said.

Delphi 2005 will ship next month. The Architect Edition will cost US$3,000 for new users and US$1,999 for an upgrade, while the Enterprise Edition will cost US$2,500 for new users and US$1,500 for an upgrade. The Professional Edition will cost US$999 for new users and US$399 for an upgrade.

All of the new IBM products will be available before the end of the year. They will range from US$5,500 per user for the Rational Software Architect to US$1,000 per user for the IBM Rational Web Developer for WebSphere Software.

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