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IBM has begun offering a free version of its Enterprise Generation Language (EGL) tools, so developers can build dynamic web applications without getting their hands dirty using HTML or JavaScript.

Big Blue's new EGL Community Edition is an Eclipse-based development tool based on code plucked from IBM's Rational Business Developer workbench, which the company has been selling for years. EGL applications or services are written, tested and debugged at the EGL source level, then compiled to Java, COBOL, or JavaScript.

"The goal is to shield developers from complexities typically associated with Web 2.0 application development," according to IBM.

IBM claims EGL is a more "open approach" to Web 2.0 development because it doesn't try to replace HTML or JavaScript unlike Adobe Systems' Flash or Flex and Microsoft's Silverlight. But until now, it hasn't been easily accessible to the general public.

Enter EGL CE, which Big Blue is offering gratis. Commercial versions of EGL from IBM will continue to be sold with enterprise-level features lacking in the free version, such as support for WebSphere Application Server and tools to enable customers to migrate from languages like Natural and RPG.

EGL CE will also not be officially supported by IBM, although developers can post questions and request help to the community on the EGL Cafe forum.

Devs can download EGL CE at IBM's web page. ®

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