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Sun revs new Java WorkShop

The latest version of the Java WorkShop development tool delivers better performance and a revamped interface, says Sun Microsystems.

Sun Microsystems' SunSoft division is ready to release the latest version of its pure-Java Java WorkShop development tool with promises of better performance and a revamped interface.

Version 2.0 of Sun's high-end Java development tool, which competes against the likes of Symantec's Cafe and Microsoft's Visual J++, will improve upon the performance and user interface of version 1.0, released last August.

The new Java WorkShop, which should be available from the Sun Web site by the end of today, will present programmers with a traditional multiple windows interface for editing code, a step back from version 1.0's browser interface.

"A lot of programmers were into the coding level rather than the visual representation (of the Web browser)," said SunSoft spokesman Nam LaMore. Version 2.0 will keep the browser--based on JavaSoft's Hot Java browser--as an option.

The updated environment will also focus on performance, something users also complained about with its predecessor. It will add a profiling tool that gives a readout of the resources used by an application in development. The readout gives programmers a graphical view of how applications use resources, so they can make adjustments accordingly. Also included is a just-in-time (JIT) compiler to boost performance.

With Java WorkStation 2.0, developers can create programs as standalone applications or as JavaBean component. To make an application a "bean," WorkStation 2.0 adds identifying tags that allow the code to be reused and recombined with other components. Software companies are looking at the JavaBean architecture as a way to make large applications more flexible. For example, Netscape Communications has promised to recreate a future version of its Communicator suite as a set of JavaBeans that can be mixed and matched.

Remote debugging is another new feature. Programmers will be able to log on remotely and debug an application on another server. SunSoft had to create its own pure-Java debugging tool, because a debugging API is not yet part of the Java standard, according to LaMore.

Sun's low-end Java development tool Java Studio is currently in beta and will be available in 6 to 8 weeks, a Sun spokesperson said.

Street price for Java WorkShop 2.0 is $99.