The company announced version 3.0 of its Visual Cafe tool lineup, which includes Database, Professional, and Standard edition packages. The release allows developers to employ visual programming techniques, using drag-and-drop elements, and hand coding for more detailed development.
Also new is support for any version of Sun Microsystems' Java Development Kit, up to the latest version 1.2. Symantec said the more flexible support ensures that developers can use the latest version of Sun's JDK to take advantage of any new Java features introduced by Sun. Visual Cafe 3.0 ships with JDK version 1.1.7.
The tool adds support for Sun's Java Foundation Class (JFC) Swing classes, introduced as part of JDK 1.2 Swing includes graphical user interface components codeveloped by Sun and Netscape Communications.
The components include standard interface elements such as view options, tool bars, choosers, buttons, and menus that can be added to Java applications. Once an interface is designed, a developer can assign it a specific "look and feel" catering either to Windows, Macintosh, or Solaris.
Visual Cafe 3.0 includes custom property editors for Swing properties, and a Swing menubar editor.
Symantec said it has also improved Visual Cafe's Interaction Wizard, which is used to configure connections between objects. The company said it has added tools for diagramming interconnections, and that experienced developers can use the tools to eliminate tedious coding tasks.
Lastly, the tool also includes a new just-in-time (JIT) compiler. JIT 3.1 greatly decreases application start-up time, said Symantec.
The Database Edition of Visual Cafe includes features for building database-centric Java applications, such as wizards for simplifying the development of SQL statements and stored procedures. Estimated retail price is $799.95, the company said.
The Professional Edition includes tools for linking into development teams, and for building server Java applications. It lists for $299.95.
Standard Edition is aimed at developers new to Java, and carries an estimated retail price of $99.95. All versions are expected to ship by year's end.
Symantec is attempting to carve out a niche in the competitive Java tool market. The company recently inked a deal with BEA Systems to supply Java tools with BEA's middleware.