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Borland makes .Net 'life cycle' play

The company readies the first product in a planned suite of tools for designing and building applications that span the .Net and J2EE programming models.

Borland Software will take on software giant Microsoft with a suite of .Net development tools targeted at companies that program with both .Net and Java.

On Tuesday, the company will formally announce its strategy to sell a bundle of tools for the .Net Framework, the software "plumbing" to build applications that adhere to Web services protocols that make it easy to share data among disparate systems.

As previously reported, the package of Borland's so-called life cycle tools, due later this year, will address various stages of the application development process, including design and coding. Borland licensed the .Net Framework in January and announced plans to build its own .Net-based products.

The first fruit of Borland's .Net efforts is C# Builder, a programming tool that use Microsoft's C# language. C# Builder, code-named Sidewinder, will be available this summer in a few different editions, according to Borland executives.

The company will follow the completion of C# Builder with a bundled suite of .Net tools that Borland gained during a series of acquisitions last year. The .Net-specific tools will address the process of defining application requirements, the design phase, programming, testing, deployment and management.

"A major area of innovation in delivering application advances is to integrate this complete life cycle--a set of tools that addresses the needs of a team of professional developers," said Simon Thornhill, vice president and general manager of Borland's rapid application development business. A complete suite also will help Borland compete for larger and potentially more lucrative development projects, he said.

With C# Builder, Borland is offering an alternative to Microsoft with life cycle tools that work with both Microsoft's .Net and the competing Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) development model.

Using C# Builder, a programmer could take pieces of code written to the J2EE or Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) model and have that code work within a .Net application, Borland executives said.

Microsoft's own C# tool can share data with separate J2EE applications via Web services protocols, but can only incorporate .Net-specific code within a C# application. Microsoft has typically partnered for application life cycle tools, such as modeling and management.