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Red Hat hopes to stand out from other vendors offering Eclipse-based Java tools by not discriminating between "free" and "useful" when it comes to features in its JBoss Developer Studio, released this week.

JBoss Developer Studio brings together a broad portfolio of open source tools not just from the Eclipse project but also technologies from Exadel, to be used with its JBoss Enterprise Application Platform.

Among the former Exadel offerings included are the RichFaces and Ajax4jsf that were released to the JBoss development community as JBoss RichFaces and JBoss Ajax4jsf. These are further supported by a JBoss Visual Page Editor for building Ajax-based applications and a technology preview of the RichFaces JSF component library.

The package, whose launch coincided with the year's last major Java event - Javapolis in Brussels, Belgium - also includes the new JBoss Seam framework and jBPM tools aimed at developers building web applications.

In addition to the JBoss and Red Hat developed components, JBoss Developer Studio includes support for the latest version of Eclipse - version 3.3 released this summer in the massive Europa program - and the latest iteration of the tools from the Web Tools Project (WTP) 2.0. Other supported Java development components include the Apache Struts 2 framework and the Spring framework.

Unlike some vendors, that provide a free yet cut-down Eclipse IDE to coax developers towards using the paid-version, Red Hat said it's giving developers everything in one hit with an open source license

Red Hat's JBoss unit claimed Developer Studio is the "first Eclipse-based development environment combining open source tooling and runtime for complete application lifecycles." In other words it integrates Java development tasks with application management.

The one place Red Hat does catch you on is support and on that all-important integration of tools and frameworks available from Jboss.com and other online places. The download price is $99.

If you want full support, it will cost you $3,500 for a professional-level subscription. You could, of course, do the legwork yourself, download the various components and integrate them on your own time.

One way to look at it, is that JBoss is charging developers an insurance premium to guarantee that the various components will work together "out of the box".

The launch comes at a time when Java tools are getting something of a boost. Following Sun Microsystems' decision last year to make future development of Java an open source project and a flurry of Java oriented activity this year from Eclipse, this month sees a bunch of new Java tools coming to market. In addition to JBoss Developer Studio, Jetbrains released version 3.0 of its TeamCity Java project management tool and Trolltech released a new version of its QT Jambi Java development framework.

JBoss Developer Studio originally went beta under the Red Hat Developer Studio name this August. According to Red Hat's JBoss unit, it rechristened the IDE to capitalize on the JBoss brand name and to, no doubt, stand out in this crowded market.

All of this Java activity and positioning during the normally fallow Holiday period could, of course, be linked to Microsoft's early release of Visual Studio 2008 last month with its marginally improved support for JavaScript debugging.®

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