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Borland to offer Web-based software for rent

The software maker will offer Web-based applications and services so programmers can collaborate on projects and communicate via the Internet.

Software maker Borland will soon rent out Web-based tools for software developers to write and build their programs.

The Scotts Valley, Calif.-based company said Tuesday it will offer Web-based software and services for rent by September that will allow software programmers to collaborate on their projects and communicate via the Internet.

The software development toolmaker joins Oracle, Merant, Mercury Interactive and others in becoming an application service provider (ASP), or a company that rents out software over the Web. The companies hope to boost sagging sales in the development tool market by offering their software and services online. That way, they say, their customers can save time and money because they do not have to install and manage the software themselves.

Analysts say they believe the emerging market for Web-based software-development tools will thrive. "It really is in its infancy, but you're seeing a market that is ripe for this sort of thing," Gartner analyst Theresa Lanowitz said.

Borland on Tuesday announced its forthcoming service that will give developers a place to manage their projects over the Web, said Ben Riga, a Borland marketing director. The company's new service, available by the end of September, can host the software code and keep track of different versions of the code when changes are made, Riga said. Borland will also offer instant-messaging software that allows programmers to communicate.

Analysts say Borland's new Web-based software will allow a team of developers located anywhere in the world to work together quickly without dealing with the hassle of building a companywide software-development infrastructure, which can take months to assemble.

Riga said Borland will partner with other software-development toolmakers and telecommunications service providers to offer the service. Developers can use Borland's packaged software-development tools, such as Delphi and JBuilder, along with the service.

Borland will show off its new Web-based service, called TeamSource Development Services Platform, at its annual developer's conference in Long Beach, Calif., next week.

Oracle was one of the first companies to offer Web-based tools. Its Portal Online Studio and Mobile Online Studio let programmers, in a hosted mode, build portal Web sites and wireless applications. With the portal tool, for example, businesses can build a company portal Web site for their employees, which Oracle can also host.

The Linux and open-source communities, through VA Linux System's free SourceForge and CollabNet's fee-based SourceCast Web sites, also offer an area for developers to manage their projects. Merant and Mercury Interactive offer Web-based services that allow businesses to test out their software's performance.