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Borland assembles a bigger toolkit

The software maker expects later this year to deliver on its plans to bundle tools that work with Java and Microsoft's .Net software.

Software maker Borland Software expects later this year to deliver on its plans to bundle tools that work with Java and Microsoft's .Net software.

Borland announced on Monday at its customer conference in San Jose, Calif., that it will release Borland Enterprise Studio 7 for Java in December. Enterprise Studio for Java is a suite of tools for different phases of the application development process, such as gathering project requirements, testing, design and writing code.

The delivery of the toolset should be an important milestone in Borland's acquisition strategy, which it launched last year. The company has bought a handful of companies, including modeling company TogetherSoft, which sold utilities that complement Borland's mainstay development tools' business. Rather than sell only an application for writing Java code, Borland will now sell an "application life cycle management" suite for handling a range of tasks.

?Software development today spans multiple disciplines, and developers are being asked to participate in more phases of the process," said Borland CEO Dale Fuller in a statement. "The UDE (unified development environment) addresses this need by bringing all the aspects of application lifecycle management together in a single environment.?

Borland's strategy places the company in close competition with IBM, which bought Rational Software last year. Rational also sells modeling and testing tools. IBM, too, has a similar vision of relying on modeling and design tools to improve the quality of the code and accelerate the development process.

In the forthcoming version of Visual Studio .Net, due in the latter half of 2004, Microsoft plans to introduce a modeling tool called Whitehorse, which is designed to speed up development through the use of up-front design.

Borland Enterprise Studio 7 for Java will include the recently launched JBuilder X development product as well as several other Borland products, including the Borland Together modeling tool and the Optimizeit suite for testing, according to the company.

Another key part of Borland's product strategy is the creation of tools that work with both Microsoft's .Net development model and the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) standard, favored by Microsoft competitors such as IBM, BEA Systems, Sun Microsystems and Oracle. Borland licensed Microsoft's .Net Framework earlier this year and introduced a development tool called C# Builder based on Microsoft's C# language.

The company said Monday that it will provide tools to help customers that use Borland's Delphi development tools to move to Microsoft's .Net software. Delphi 8, which is expected to be completed by December, is designed to allow Delphi programmers to write applications that work on the .Net Framework, the Windows software needed to run .Net applications. Borland is also including utilities designed to allow a developer to rework existing Delphi applications to run with .Net.

Delphi 8 and C# Builder both employ modeling technology that Borland gained through its acquisition of BoldSoft last year. On Tuesday, Borland is expected to offer more details on the Enterprise Core Object (ECO) technology that it gained from BoldSoft.

ECO is designed to allow developers and application architects to use the Model Driven Architecture (MDA)--a modeling-driven approach to application development created by the Object Management Group--to build .Net applications, according to Borland.