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Borland looks to make Java Web-friendly

The software company introduces JBuilder X, an overhaul to its Java programming tool intended to simplify Web application and Web services development.

Borland Software introduced on Tuesday an overhauled edition of its Java programming tool designed to simplify creation of Web applications.

The software developer said JBuilder X, which the company calls the most significant upgrade to its Java development tool in two years, adds a visual designer to ease and accelerate Web application development. The update, available now, also adds a drag-and-drop tools for building Web services applications and adds support for the open-source Java application server JBoss.

JBuilder X--the X is pronounced "ten"--is the latest entry into a crowded market for application development tools that make


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Java programming easier and quicker. Sun Microsystems, which already sells a Java-based tools line, next year is planning to introduce a new product targeted specifically at Visual Basic developers, who favor graphical tools that allow applications to be up and running quickly. IBM, BEA Systems and Oracle are also investing in improving their respective Java development tools to bolster their Java application server packages.

To accelerate development of Web applications, Borland has created a visual design tool for Struts, software from the Apache open-source project that is meant to help people construct Web applications that run across several components, such as a database, application server and Web server. The designer gives programmers a means to better organize development and track changes to the different application components, according to Borland executives.

Borland is also introducing a visual tool for building applications that conform to Web services, a series of standards that use XML-based protocols to share information between disparate systems. The drag-and-drop tool lets programmers incorporate existing Web services into another application. It also lets them publish a software component with Web services interfaces so it can connect to other applications.

JBuilder X includes deployment tools to take advantage of different capabilities of Java application servers, which are used to run custom-written Java programs. A visual deployment editor lets administrators configure applications according to which application server will be used, including Borland's own product, IBM's WebSphere, BEA's WebLogic, and JBoss.

Borland has modified the user interface of JBuilder X to try to improve the navigation through code and help teams of developers collaborate on large projects. JBuilder X is bundled with the company's Optimizeit testing suite.

The company did not announce specific prices for the different editions of JBuilder X. But it has changed the licensing of JBuilder Foundation, the simplest version of the tool, so that it can be bundled with other software products without restrictions.