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On Borland JBuilder 2006

It's a collaborative thing

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Definitely interactive collaboration, then, not just a passively shared demonstration. Traditional configuration management can track this, of course but it is extended by another new feature of JBuilder 2006, “Active Difference Editing”. Once you've checked something out of Configuration Management, you don't need to check it back in every five - ten minutes, since Active Difference Editing gives you a facility very like “track changes” in MS Word to track editing changes and deletions within the session.

As Harrison puts it: "We're trying hard not to duplicate what we give you in configuration management but to extend this for the current workspace and we feel that it's very easy to use and that it delivers value very quickly...” Imagine as a tester or maintenance programmer hitting a tricky piece of code written by Fred Bloggs – traditionally, if Fred couldn't come to your terminal that could have resulted in a serial email exchange lasting a day or so; now you can just click on Fred's icon, pass the token, and say “hey, show me why we do this...” and it doesn't matter where Fred is.

This sounds impressive; although Collabnet offers strong competition in collaborative development. It also reminds us of something we've seen years ago from Doug Englebart.

In 1968, he put together a video demo of a system called oNLine System (NLS), which, among other things, included two people working collaboratively on the same document, with a mouse cursor each, and a video link to let the collaborators check each other's body language. Why is it taking so long for this sort of collaboration to become the norm in modern computer environments? Some questions are just too hard – but at least Borland is getting there.

Other improvements associated with JBuilder 2006 include support for the latest standards and application servers, better integration into Borland's ALM and a new release of Borland's Optmizeit performance management toolkit. New releases of Optimizeit tend to go hand-in-hand with JBuilder because quite a lot of Optimizeit is built into the JBuilder IDE. So, there's an Optimizeit 2006 too, and this concentrates on satisfying customer requests for batch-oriented functionality – integrating Optimizeit analysis into overnight builds, unit testing and so on.

In the longer term, Optimizeit will support Borland's strategy for making development processes transparent to their business stakeholders, with high level “cockpits” in its role- and process-centric Core::Developer product, which is incorporating the best of JBuilder and is part of the Core Software Delivery Platform. Borland's future also includes a new generation of Eclipse-based commercial development tools including "Peloton" which, Borland promises, "brings JBuilder's trademark usability, advanced collaboration features, ALM integrations and enterprise-class support to Eclipse" – probably in the first half of 2006.

JBuilder 2006 will be available for customer shipments in mid-September 2005, and Optimizeit 2006 is available now. Customers on, or renewing, JBuilder and Optimizeit support and maintenance will be offered no-cost upgrades to the 2006 version. If you like Flash, and have a fast connection/computer, a demo of the JBuilder collaboration environment is here. ®

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