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Borland retools for Java

The company updates its Java development tool package and launches an easier to use version of its VisiBroker Java middleware.

Borland International (BORL) today updated its Java development tool package and launched an easier to use version of its VisiBroker Java middleware.

JBuilder 2 works with multiple Java Development Kits so that developers can stay up to date with the latest version of Sun Microsystems' JDK; and supports both Enterprise JavaBeans and the CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) component development framework. VisiBroker 3.2 for Java adds better connection management, graphical tools, and easier customization, the company said.

Evan Quinn, an analyst with International Data Corporation, said JBuilder 2 marks a "significant change of direction for Borland. The company was originally known for orienting tools to commercial, not corporate developers. Version 2 is targeted even further up the chain," he said.

That's important for Java to become more widely accepted among corporate developers, Quinn said. Version 1.0 of the tool, released last year, was more oriented to corporate developers piloting their first Java applications. "Certainly from a middleware perspective, JBuilder 2 is much more rounded out. It's an enterprise class product," he said.

Quinn also sees Borland--along with Symantec--as the only Java tool companies gaining substantial market share outside of their own customer bases. Microsoft is the overall market leader, with its Visual J++ tool, but that's aimed mostly at developers already using Visual Basic or Visual C++, Quinn said.

Other new features of JBuilder 2 include support for Java Foundation Classes 1.1 (JDK 1.1) and graphical user interface components called Swing, which let developers target multiple operating systems using a Pure Java user interface.

JBuilder 2 also contains CodeInsight, a new set of Wizards to assist developers that provides proper language syntax while developers create and edit code. The tool also includes Wizards for creating Enterprise JavaBeans and Java Servlets.

Also new is the Borland Deployment Server, for deploying Java applications on a middle tier server and better CORBA support.

JBuilder is available in three versions: JBuilder Client/Server costs $2,495, the Professional version is priced at $799.95, and a Standard edition costs $99.95.

Borland said VisiBroker 3.2 for Java delivers 20 to 40 percent better performance than previous versions and now includes a revised Interface Definition Language compiler that provides better error message information.