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Sun spikes Java IDEs

NetBeans or bust

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Sun Microsystems is finally giving up building its own Java integrated tools suites after a long and painful slog.

Development of Sun Java Studio Creator, launched amid much hype three years ago as the new force in visual-drag-and-drop, interface development, and the stately Studio Enterprise are to be discontinued, the company told El Reg. There's no word on Sun Studio for C, C++, and Fortran.

Sun is also turning the classic vendor migration campaign guns on its own users, with a push to persuade developers of both its IDEs to adopt NetBeans 6.0.

Sun is offering six months' free help migrating to NetBeans 6.0, which is probably a comment on the small number of developers actively working with Sun's IDEs. Sun has promised to honor customer support contracts "for a long time".

The irony is that in summer 2006 Sun was trying to convince users of JBuilder from rival Borland Software to migrate, as Borland was giving up on developers and riding off into the Texas sunset. Initially, it had seemed Sun's latest migration program was, again, targeted at Java IDE rivals.

Sun has poured untold dollars and hours into product development and marketing of its Java tools. The company has also dabbled with various support and pricing options.

Unfortunately, though, it seems this was not enough to reverse the missteps of the last decade when Sun was caught napping in the early days of Java.

More recently, Sun has been giving away more of its IDEs while placing greater emphasis on NetBeans, which seems to be finding its feet among developers with version 6.0 that was released last week.

In April 2006, Sun released Studio Enterprise's UML modeller, XML infrastructure tools, and orchestration and SOA tools to the NetBeans project as part of the NetBeans Enterprise Pack for use with NetBeans 5.5. That Enterprise Pack is now available with the Visual Web Pack as a single installation with NetBeans 6.0.

According to Sun, it's the confusion created by having multiple environments and plug ins that's caused the consolidation on NetBeans.

A company spokesperson said: "Sun has been listening to feedback from customers and the community who have been saying that though these tools are great, they would like just one IDE." ®

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