Eclipse to buzz BEA's Java Beehive

Open-source group to create project for Beehive, which BEA founded to speed Java work, CNET News.com has learned.

Martin LaMonica
Martin LaMonica Former Staff writer, CNET News
Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.
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The Eclipse open-source foundation plans to start a development project around BEA Systems' Beehive Java development software, CNET News.com has learned.

BEA, Eclipse, and software company Instantiations are slated to make the announcement on Monday at the JavaOne developer conference in San Francisco. The goal of the project, called Pollinate, is to allow Java programmers that use the Eclipse open-source software to tap into the visual development components of Beehive, according to BEA.

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Eclipse member Instantiations will lead the project, which will result in an add-on, or "plug in" for the Eclipse software. The initial code for Pollinate is slated for release at the end of the summer, and a beta program will begin in the fall, said Dave Cotter, BEA's director of developer marketing. Completion of the project is expected by the second quarter of next year, he said.

The move is intended to foster adoption of BEA's Beehive software, the company's most high-profile foray into open-source development. The Eclipse software has grown rapidly in popularity in the past year. In a recent survey, research company Evans Data found that usage of Eclipse among North American developers grew 90 percent last year.

Java is a programming language for writing applications that can run on different operating systems and processors. It frees programmers from having to craft alternate versions of a program to run on different platforms.

arrow Head of Eclipse open-source tools initiative shares group's goals
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In May, BEA submitted the application development "framework" that works in conjunction with its WebLogic Java application server to the Apache Foundation for development in an open-source model. The Beehive software is designed to speed up Java development by providing tools to assemble components, or prewritten pieces of code, with drag-and-drop tools. The Beehive software also has tools to accelerate development of Web services and portal applications.

Beehive is an open-source version of the software that underpins BEA's commercial WebLogic Workshop product. BEA has committed its own engineers to create an edition of Beehive so that applications written with the Beehive tools can run on the Tomcat Java application server. BEA will not be joining Eclipse, Cotter said.

BEA is trying to convince other Java tools companies to provide support for Beehive within their own products. The company hopes that efforts to build up the base of developers using the Beehive software will help drive sales of its own WebLogic line. Greater adoption of the Beehive software will also foster a bigger market for prewritten software controls, Cotter said.

The company would like the Beehive software to work with Sun's open-source NetBeans Java development and IntelliJ Idea, a Java development tool from JetBrains, he said. "NetBeans and IntelliJ represent the cream of the crop of what's left for development tools vendors," Cotter said. "Because it's open-source, there's quite a bit of commercial flexibility in terms of who does the work and how people are compensated."