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IBM site focuses on JavaBeans

IBM's AlphaWorks site officially launches AlphaBeans, a new section devoted to JavaBeans that are free of charge and not quite finished.

These beans may still be a little green, but at least they're free.

IBM's AlphaWorks site today officially launched AlphaBeans, a new section devoted to JavaBeans-in-progress. Like all products posted to AlphaWorks, these JavaBeans are free of charge and not quite finished.

"We're trying to help developers help us finalize the JavaBeans," explained AlphaWorks manager Chris Bahr. "Early adopters can take them, incorporate them into their applications, and then provide us with feedback and allow us to make adjustments before they're full products for sale."

JavaBeans are components that Java developers can use to build applications. With a components-based architecture, developers can string together prewritten elements instead of writing them from scratch.

AlphaWorks posted more than 50 AlphaBeans with today's launch. The not-ready-for-prime-time beans include NumberSpeller, which lets Java programs write out Arabic numerals, and LEDClock, a digital clock developers can build into their applications.

AlphaWorks launched a year and a half ago and has become a popular site with developers, according to Bahr. Some technologies have received hundreds of thousands of downloads, he said.

But AlphaWorks cautions users that the nearly finished products should not be used in mission critical applications.

"We are making early code without formal support," Bahr said. "Users can make business applications using Beans, but we do recommend that they do so in areas where risk is negligible."