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IBM writes around the clock

IBM is racing to complete its VisualAge PartsPaks package for Java developers.

IBM (IBM) says it loves Java so much that it won't sleep while there's programming to be done.

In the tradition of programmers who renounce sleep until they finish hacking code, IBM has vowed to continue building Java software components long after the sun sets in the west. But Big Blue isn't going to do it by drinking copious amounts of coffee, Jolt cola, or other stimulants. Instead, the company says it has assembled teams of skilled programmers from Latvia to India to Seattle who will busily write code then dispatch it to their colleagues in other time zones via the Internet.

"We're speeding up the cycle time to deliver Java Beans," Scott Hebner, manager of application development marketing for IBM's software group. The first Java Beans components from the program will ship by the third quarter this year, he added.

Initially the accelerated work schedule will focus on Java Beans components for what IBM calls e-business applications, eight areas including multimedia-based training, sales force management, and human resources functions.

According to the company, it has cut deals with Tsinghua University in China, Belarus's Institute of Computer Science, India's Tata Group, and Latvia's Software House Group that will give it round-the-clock Java development capabilities. The teams will work on creating JavaBeans, software components written in the Java programming language, that are able to work in tandem with OpenDoc, SOM, and other Java components. The JavaBeans are to be to combined later this year into a package for developers called VisualAge PartsPaks.

IBM has been among the most vigorous supporters of Sun Microsystems' Java technology. The company has vowed to incorporate Java capabilities into virtually all of its operating systems, development tools, and its Notes groupware environment. IBM said it would spend hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years to incorporate Java into its enterprise products.

But IBM and other companies realize that there need to be more useful Java applications for the technology to keep up its momentum. By accelerating development of JavaBeans components, IBM hopes it can help encourage developers to build Java-based applications sooner rather than later.