Feeds

CodeGear bets on Application Factories to transform JBuilder

Optimus primed

Intelligent flash storage arrays

CodeGear is betting on something called Application Factories to distinguish its Eclipse-based JBuilder developer suite from the rest of the Java tools herd.

Application Factories will be part of JBuilder 2008, now going into beta, and be "a major leap in development paradigm" according to CodeGear principal architect Ravi Kumar - as if we had not heard such things a thousand times before.

Unveiled for during a "sneek peek" session at CodeGear's virtual CodeRage conference late on Friday, Application Factories will generate applications from pre-defined scripts and templates.

The concept also includes a new approach to organizing and navigating application code, using diagrams and even a fashionable tag cloud instead of rooting through folders.

"We're trying to shift to an application-driven paradigm, by overlaying a bunch of metadata on top of the existing structure," Kumar said. Many applications today begin with a whiteboard sketch showing the basic architecture. Kumar's idea is to preserve that high-level view in the IDE, so that even new team members can quickly understand and navigate the code.

In JBuilder's Application Factories, reusable code is delivered in the form of modules, which both contain code and capture knowledge about its purpose and design. Developers will choose from a palette of modules, stored in a factory repository. Kumar showed how JBuilder lets you preview a new project and then click Create Application to generate the code. The output includes the metadata as well as the code, thus enabling the new navigation tools. However, once the code is generated there is no way back; the Create Application button is the boundary of reuse.

The roadmap looks like this. JBuilder "Bonanza" is due in the first half of 2008, and will include the first iteration of Application Factories, targeting specific frameworks including Tomcat, MySQL, Struts 2, Spring, Hibernate and JSF. This will also be offered as a JGear add-in for Eclipse users who do not require the full JBuilder.

Later in 2008 we are promised JBuilder "Grasshopper", which will extend Application Factories to allow user-defined modules. In 2009 JBuilder "Optimus" will further update the feature "to enable the rapid assembly of applications by composing existing applications and services into managed assemblies."

The factory concept has several attractions. In theory, it enables faster development. "We will establish very high starting points for applications," Kumar said. "You wouldn't start with a Java class, a JSP or a servlet, an EJB or a session bean. Our base line will be higher."

One use case is where a team is delivering similar but slightly different applications for different customers. CodeGear also envisages a third-party market for commercial modules, along with free modules shared by the community.

It is a bold idea, but will it fare better than countless other attempts to promote software reuse? Notably, Microsoft two years ago embraced the re-use concept along with the "factory" name when it launched Visual Studio 2005, and introduced Software Factories. Unfortunately Kumar's session was big on buzzwords, but light on detail.

CodeGear - the unwanted Borland Software subsidiary its parent pimped on the market for about year but failed to find a buyer for - is trying to give JBuilder a lift in a commoditized market, but risks sapping energy that could go into less visionary but more immediately useful coding tools.®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
SLURP! Flick your TONGUE around our LOLLIPOP – Google
Android 5 is coming – IF you're lucky enough to have the right gadget
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.