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Borland readies cross-platform tools

Applications coming this summer are geared to bridge the software development gap between the Microsoft .Net environment and the worlds of Java and CORBA.

Borland Software on Monday offered details about development tools geared for companies with programmers working with both Java and .Net.

This summer, Borland plans to release Janeva, an application that lets corporate developers use Microsoft tools to build Windows applications that work with software written to non-Microsoft development models, including Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA).

Janeva, the price of which has not yet been released, is aimed at companies that have both Microsoft and Java programmers in-house. Those companies, according to Borland executives, would like the programmers to collaborate on one application development project.

Earlier this year, Borland licensed Microsoft's .Net Framework, the software "plumbing" that simplifies the building of applications that adhere to Web services standards. Web services-based applications use the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and other protocols to share data in a relatively easy way between disparate systems. Companies can also use development tools based on the J2EE programming model to write Web services.

Borland's strategy is to stand out from competitors with tools that can work with different development models. Microsoft sells its .Net-focused Visual Studio.Net programming application, while IBM, Oracle, BEA Systems and others sell primarily tools based on the Java language.

The ability to mix and match software written to rival development standards is an important selling point for another upcoming Borland tool, called C# Builder, said Borland executives.

As previously reported, Borland's C# Builder is a programming application based on the language C# (pronounced "see sharp"), which Microsoft developed as an alternative to Sun Microsystems'-created Java. Microsoft also sells a C# tool, but C# Builder will allow developers to work with software written with Java or CORBA tools, said Borland executives. C# Builder also has a utility designed to make it easier to pull data from multiple databases during development.

C# Builder will be available this summer in three different versions, ranging in price from $999 to $2,499 for professional programmers. A personal edition costs $69.

The release of Borland's C#-based tool will provide the final component in the company's plan to introduce a suite of so-called life cycle development tools for Microsoft's .Net development model. Shortly after the release of C# Builder, Borland will sell a bundle of applications that address the different phases of the development process, from modeling and design to actual coding and testing, said Michael Swindell, Borland's director of products and technology.

Also on Monday, Borland introduced a version of its Java application server aimed at medium-size businesses or departments in large corporations. Borland Enterprise Server Team Edition, which includes the Janeva software, costs $1,995 and is limited to use by 25 people concurrently.

Borland rivals BEA Systems and IBM have also introduced Java application servers geared specifically at smaller customers. Oracle, too, cut the price of its application server in an attempt to gain more ground on its competitors.