Recap of recent IBM development tools announcements


News: Recap of recent IBM development tools announcements

  1. Recap of recent IBM development tools announcements (23 messages)

    On 11/5 IBM annouced its donation of $40 million WebSphere Studio Workbench to open sourced 'Eclipse', an IDE base upon which other tool vendors could build (modeling, testing, tuning, etc). Also announced on 11/7 was IBM's own J2EE/WebService development tool ontop, WSAD (WebSphere Studio Application Developer) 4.0 for Windows. Package release is due 11/21.

    Some highlights of WSAD 4.0:
    - JDK 1.3(pluggable), EJB 1.1, JSP 1.1, Servlet 2.2, J2EE packaging
    - Role-based development to customize "perspectives"
    - Many important VAJ features (Incremental compilation, Code Assist, Test Environment)
    - File based, integration to source control tools, CVS, etc. (no longer with VAJ team repository)
    - XML and Web Service development
    - Profiling tools
    - Also will be bundled with VAJ4.0.

    See details at -

    Donation of Workbench (Eclipse) -

    WebSphere tools announcement -

    IBM's official WSAD site -

    Threaded Messages (23)

  2. So tell me how is this different that NetBeans? Other than the fact that IBM waited 18 months to do it? $40 Million isn't really that much considering how much WebGain paid for VisualCafe. Plus tell me why would I wan't to risk using a toolset that supports proprietary IBM standards like SWT? This may be an open source offering, but it's designed to lock you into the the IBM platform. Why would tool developers want to do this instead of support all J2EE platforms?
  3. Well the toolset itself is proprietary but that has 0 impact on the code that Eclipse generates. I don't see anything that locks me into the IBM platform, in fact I don't even see anything obvious that allows me to use SWT in any meaningful manner from the IDE. In terms of free development environments out there - this is actually a really good one. I still use Netbeans as well, but lately I've been taken in with the design of Eclipse and some of its more advanced refactoring methods that I have not yet found in NetBeans. What I can definitely say though is that if NetBeans and Eclipse continue forward at this current pace, Borland, IntelliJ, and others are going to have some issues as the freebie development environments are actually getting quite sophisticated. If you haven't tried it, you should. I downloaded it expecting the regular IBM fare (IBM IMHO has no clue how to design a UI), but I have been pleasantly surprised. Sure it has its 'issues' but damn if it isn't a good IDE!
  4. As a user, I like to see competition, and that's why Eclipse stuff is good. I'm still playing with WSAD beta, but so far I'm impressed. If you work for Sun, that's different story.

    Eclipse is not just about Java. That probably upsets Sun even more. :)

    There have been previous discussions on the Eclipse vs. NetBeans. Search on "Eclipse", and you'll see some similar challenges, as well as some reasonable thoughts.
  5. Well, as I already said, WSAD seems to have potential, but has a long way to go...
    However, about Eclipse here: Guys, this is simply boring. The IDE can be as good as it likes to be, but what does it help? The EJB tools, WebServices tools, and so on are completely missing, and they are not in the project charts.
    So guess what... This is nothing new, IBM open-sources the IDE to get some attention, but still sells it (unless you don't need EJB and this stuff... LOL).
    Hey, even the editor is far worse than the ones from NetBeans, IntelliJ, JBuilder,...
    So in the next six to twelve months, Borland, Sun (and IBM) don't need to worry about competition for their high priced products.


  6. I think the IDE's have alot to worry about. We are using WSAD in beta to develop the application, and we haven't had any problems. I have the GA version and it is great.
  7. Unless you need a wizard of some sort to develop your EJBs I'm not sure what the high end ones are buying you. I'm currently using Eclipse and Netbeans to develop EJBs for JBoss without issue - so from my perspective, I don't see the point of paying *anything* for the high priced IDEs.

    In terms of WebServices, when they actually materialize as something meaningful (which I have not yet seen to this point) I will be more concerned about that - but since most WebServices are about ingesting and exporting XML, I'm not sure that I won't be able to do that with Eclipse and Netbeans.

    In terms of the editor itself, it refactors fine, it has code completion, syntax highlighting, the task view (something I missed from VisualJ++), etc. From a features standpoint its actually got a bunch of editor features that JBuilder doesn't even have.

    But hey, I'm just being objective :)
  8. FYI, there is actually a full unit test environment, embedded and fully built-in to WSAD which builds on far surpasses anything we did in the WebSphere Test Environment (WTE) and the Apache Tomcat Test Envionment in VisualAge for Java which were quite popular.

    We currently support Tomcat 3.x, Tomcat 4.0x and WebSphere 4.0, unit test, locally (same machine) and remote "right out of the box".

    So it is not just about the CREATION of the various J2EE resources, but the ability to easily and completely unit test in the exact server runtime you may be deploying to.

    By selecting a servlet, JSP, HTML file, EJB or an entire J2EE project and clicking "Run on Server" the application resource will be launched in the appropriate manner on the live embedded server.

    We think that is pretty cool, but of course I am biased ;-)
  9. I assume WSAD also has a test environment for WebSphere 3.5? We're not up to 4.0 yet...

  10. No, Dan, we (the Server Tools plugins in Application Developer) do not support WebSphere 3.5x, mostly because 4.0 moved to a completely XML-configurable driven model of the server configuration, and its repository whereas 3.5 required a relational database to manage the runtime repository. Application Developer relies to a large extent on this new configuration model and runs "out of the box" with no requirment for a DB to manage runtime state.

    In addition, WebSphere 4.0 supports and is certified on J2EE, whereas 3.5 was not. In that we are in part "J2EE" (the part that interfaces with WebSphere)we only support 4.0

    You may want to continue to use VisualAge for Java or another IDE/framework to develop for WAS 3.5. But that is just my opinion, and may not reflect the best practices IBM may have for working with 3.5 or other solutions that may exist.
  11. Sheldon, where does Eclipse sit in terms of the overall IBM strategy? That's something I don't understand yet. I love the tool and the fact that its open sourced and all - but is it a piece of a new toolset or is it something truly independent of other IBM products?
  12. Gregory,

    Speaking from the point of view of a mere developer type who is not necessarily privy to the "overall IBM strategy" as you put it, I can only suggest that Eclipse is the platform tools strategy and WebSphere Studio Application Developer is the first set of commercial tooling plugins built for and on the Eclipse platform.

    This means that IBM will likely (just a guess) take a snapshot at a given point of whatever actually makes up Eclipse, including all contributions to that point, and build our own set of plugins on top of that base. It will be similar to embedding Tomcat 4.01, for example, which may not be exactly the same as Tomcat 4.02 since everthing is constant flux.

    The Application Developer dev team, of which I am a member, takes the various Eclipse drivers (IBM speak for builds) and works with those APIs to build our value add, in this case a set of tooling for WebSphere, Tomcat, JEEE, Web services, amonst others. Other vendors will be free to do the same thing (I imagine)with Eclipse as the standard, open base to build their tooling stories on. So as Eclipse goes to the 2.0 level of of the base, we will at some point as well.

    As far as strategy goes, you may (if you have not already)have a look at these URLs which is the best I know:

    amonst others. Hope that helps,

  13. Hi Sheldon

    Have you tried using WSAD with source code control? I have been using it with the Rational ClearCase 4.2 plugin.

    I have found that WSAD plugins don't prompt the developer to check-out files that are needed but are checked-in. eg, if you try to create a new EJB, and the ejb-jar.xml file is checked-in, the EJB-creation plugin does not prompt for the file to be checked out. As the plug-in cannot write to the file it fails (plus, it doesn't tell you which file it couldn't write to!)

    Does the eclipse framework concern itself with source code control? Can plug-in developers prompt the developer to check-out needed files?


  14. Andrew,

    That is a very good question that is a bit out of my area.
    I do suggest you post your question to the public IBM WebSphere Studio newsgroup:


    The newgroup is monitored by a variety of users using the tools and by both IBM and OTI developers and support groups.

  15. Sheldon

    How did you avoid this problem when working in a J2EE development team? You are using WSAD right?

    Do you use CVS instead of ClearCase?



  16. Andrew,

    Keep in mind that WSAD is a tooling environment FOR J2EE, not a J2EE development team environment. We develop TOOLS for other developers that do all the plumbing to create, deploy and test EJB resources (amongst other types of resources). As such our team is not really a "J2EE development enviroment" per se, and we don't for example develop our own EJBs.

    The Application Developer team is a cross-site (cross-countries as well) team based for the most part here in Toronto (where I live and work) and in Raliegh NC. Each sub-team historically uses the development enviroment and version control that makes most sense to them, includuding those who are completely self-hosting on WebSphere Workbench/Eclipse and CVS or ClearCase amongst others.
  17. Just to clarify a point. I just said we "don't develop EJBs". OF COURSE we develop EJBs! Many of them, in many flavours and complexities in fact, but we do so in the process of testing and developing the tools, not as part of the deliverable itself.
  18. Hi Sheldon,

  19. Hi Sheldon,

     What group do you work for? I work for Software Services for Websphere, MQ, and VAJ.

    Roland Barcia

  20. We are successfully using the IDE to write J2EE applications for WebLogic. So I don't know how I am locked in. I can use any JVM, walk through code in different application servers, step through an XSL transformation?
  21. HI, can you tell me what you had to do to get this to work with Weblogic ?

    rfletch at yahoo dot com

  22. export the EAR file and copy it to the application directory of WebLogic. For the EJB, create a weblogic-ejb.jar file in the IDE as a XML file. Make sure it is in the same directory of as the ejb.jar file. Weblogic will ignore any ibm file including stubs and skeletons, they create their own.
    If you are using Entity Beans, you need to map the fields after you export the EAR with some BEA tool.
  23. There is a major difference between the two models. The support from third party tool vendors seems to be huge according to this announcement. I can't see any dependencies to IBM in the eclipse framework. when it comes to compare the two desgin models on the first view it seems no big difference but look closer and you see a differnet focus.
    The second aspect and after nearly 9 month of development with netbeans, the code base in eclipse has lesser important bugs, which prevent me from doing my daily work. If you know the people behind eclipse, then you know what to expect from them regarding quality and extensibility and usability(, clearly above the average).
  24. Everyone,

    To quote from the posting:

    - Also will be bundled with VAJ4.0.

    Of Course! Since VAJ4.0 is the end of the VAJ line!
    And if you should be so unfortunate to even
    remotely *assume* that it was an improvement over
    VAJ 3.5.3, well... you will be disappointed.

    It is not.

    When you have developers using everything *but*
    VAJ 4.0 to develop J2EE solutions for WebSphere
    4.0, you have to wonder...

    From personal experience.