BEA Systems Inc is back peddling on efforts to attract Visual Basic developers to its WebLogic Workshop Java programming environment, in what appears a strategic reversal.
BEA is now focusing on going deeper and broader in the Java space, trying to build on its market share against Java rivals like IBM.
Read the account on this strategic reversal
What did this strategy attempt prove?
BEA failed to focus on what J2EE is, and also failed to focus on waht VB programs actually do:
The fact is that, the types of problems that J2EE is a solution for are not the types of problems that are usually simply solved or ones that can be imlemented solely by a client/server VB guy. They are definitly not problems you want implemented by a novice double-clicking in some GUI tool. J2EE exists to help build large, complex systems, and as a _tool_ to help experience, knowledgeable developers build said systems. J2EE is NOT A REPLACEMENT for those developers.
As for VB, programs written in VB, in the corporate world, are typically some sort of workflow automation, reporting, or data entry tool, and more often than not, they are problem domains that ARE NOT ADEQUATELY IMPLEMENTED USING WEB TECHNOLOGY. Why oh why must everything be a web-app? If you want to wow IT managers, and VB developers, show them a Java-based desktop app that has all the power and maintainability of a J2EE system (via EJBs), but maintains the quickness, responsiveness, and rich-UI-ness of a desktop app.
If BEA wants to encroach the VB or client/server crowd, and get J2EE and weblogic involved with coroporate desktop users, they need to remember that Java also has the ability to make a non-web-app. Web-apps have their place, but they really don't completely capitalize on the full power of J2EE.
BEA seems to be having an identity crisis these days.
Why go after the VB6 market at all? Those guys are all very frustrated just trying to manage with VB.Net. The VB market is in a very sad state right now.
<q>Why go after the VB6 market at all? The VB market is in a very sad state right now. </q>
That's why. Those guys are READY TO SWITCH.
This clearly shows that BEA, which was a clear leader in implementing the J2EE spec, is now a follower when time comes to provide capabilities beyond the spec. Forget the let's-switch-all-VB-developers-to-our-platform pipe dream. IBM got it right and BEA is still trying to figure out what they should do next when they can't find it in the book.
"[BEA] is now a follower when time comes to provide capabilities beyond the spec. "
I don't agree.
IBM doesn't really have anything comparable to Workshop yet.
Ditto for Liquid Data.
WLI today is rather rough around the edges, but so is MQSI. If/when WLI gets the new rumoured workshop-like UI, it may leapfrog MQSI.
I would also suggest that WLS' EJB 2.0 CMP support is leaps and bounds ahead of most server vendors being based on TOPLink concepts (though CMP itself is still a tremendous pain due to lack of tools)
IBM doesn't really have anything comparable to Workshop
I havent tried Workshop, but if it is leaps a head of websphere studio then it has to be to excellent to be true...
I'd like to clarify BEA's position here. We are absolutely, especially with WebLogic Workshop, committed to attracting application developers to Java development and the BEA platform. Our goal remains to make Java/J2EE development easier for this class of developer, and enhance their ability to work with enterprise level J2EE developers. The point is that we're not at all backing off on attracting VB-type developers (who are comprised of more than actual VB developers...a point which didn't come through in this press story), in addition to enterprise developers. It isn't an "either-or" proposition - BEA is focused on attracting both types of developers.
Scott Fallon, VP Developer Relations
BEA Systems, Inc.