Feeds

VB developers take back seat at BEA

Strategic reversal?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Application security programs and practises

BEA Systems Inc is back-pedaling on efforts to attract Visual Basic developers to its WebLogic Workshop Java programming environment, in what appears a strategic reversal, writes Gavin Clarke.

After 12-months' rhetoric, San Jose, California-based BEA told ComputerWire Microsoft Corp's Visual Basic developers are no longer a priority as the company now focuses on building grassroots market share against Java rivals like IBM.

"[Visual Basic] developers are not a priority for us right now. We are going deeper and broader in the Java space. It's a secondary goal," said BEA vice president of developer relations Scott Fallon during a recent interview.

Fallon insisted, though, BEA's decision does not signify a failure of the company's strategy to attract developers. "I'm not saying we failed, it's just not a primary target," he said.

The decision, though, is a reversal in policy that sees the normally evangelical BEA trade vision for reality. The company introduced its WebLogic Workshop Java web services development environment this summer, offering drag-and-drop features normally found in Microsoft Visual Studio but lacking in many Java development environments.

BEA hoped the Visual Studio-style interface would not only win over Java developers, but also Visual Basic 6.0 developers unhappy with Visual Basic.NET, launched in February.

The company's chief customer advocate Bill Coleman, who first revealed Workshop in December 2001, told ComputerWire at the time that the suite would win over frustrated Visual Basic developers who feel neglected by Microsoft. "The faster we move the more territory we occupy before Microsoft gets there," he said.

BEA executives speaking at subsequent company events backed Coleman's words stressing Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft had "broken" Visual Basic with features such as full Object Orientation (OO) in Visual Basic.NET that ended backwards compatibility.

By August, though, BEA was clearly failing to attract Visual Basic developers. The company's chief marketing officer Tod Nielsen, who also admitted BEA was 500,000 plus developers short of its goal for a one-million strong dev2dev developer community by December, lacked a single Visual Basic reference customer.

Instead, it seems, many Visual Basic developers are actually sticking with version 6.0, waiting for Visual Basic.NET to stabilize. A new version is due next April with Visual Studo.NET 2003.

Other developers dismissed issues such as backwards compatibility, saying productivity gains offered by Visual Basic.NET through OO coupled with speedier debugging in Visual Studio.NET's mean it is quicker to re-write applications than migrate code.

One senior IT consultant for American Power said: "There are just so many more things .NET can do, that we are going in that direction. Some older applications are just being re-written."

Microsoft, meanwhile, has toned down its Visual Basic.NET evangelism with a campaign this summer to encourage more conservative programmers to switch. In a 20-city road show and related online activities, Microsoft downplayed XML web services vision and OO in Visual Basic.NET and Visual Studio.NET, the thrust at launch, and instead stressed simplified development and deployment of applications across Windows, the web and mobile devices.

Previously, Windows programmers had to use a subset of Visual Studio and Visual Basic tools to deploy applications to the internet and mobile devices, making development more complex.

Ari Bixhorn, Visual Studio.NET lead product manager, said: "When we initially launched .NET we were talking about XML web services... [this summer] we showed OO was not mandatory. We showed how to build Windows applications more effectively without using OO," he said.

Economic realities are also thought to have played a part in BEA's change of strategy, as reduced IT budgets and the need for individuals to focus on finding new jobs have prevented many from experimenting with Workshop.

Rather than pilfer Microsoft of developers, BEA now seems to be targeting its resources on the more realistic target of attracting other vendors' Java developers - especially users of products from the company's number-one enterprise competitor IBM.

BEA has, in recent months, issued a stream of statistics and press releases on application servers and enterprise application integration (EAI) claiming its products are either faster or make developers more productive than if they used IBM's WebSphere.

© ComputerWire

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Attack of the clones: Oracle's latest Red Hat Linux lookalike arrives
Oracle's Linux boss says Larry's Linux isn't just for Oracle apps anymore
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.