This week’s Borland Developer Conference in Melbourne saw a much more upbeat Borland than at its get-togethers of the last few years.
Borland’s shares have been bucking the general downward trend of other tech stocks, its products are selling well and the company has announced a number of important partnerships with companies such as Nokia and Siemens that have committed to using Borland’s JBuilder tool for developing applications for their mobile devices.
This week sees a number of new versions of Borland products on shop shelves. First off the blocks is Kylix 2, an upgraded version of Borland’s Linux development platform (Delphi for Linux). The new version now includes integrated support for SOAP (simple object access protocol), WSDL (web services description language) and UDDI (universal description, discovery and integration), important components of Microsoft’s .Net strategy. This new release brings Kylix up to speed with the recent improvements in Borland’s Delphi 6, which was released a month or two ago.
There is also a new version of JBuilder, version 6.0, which like Kylix 2 and Delphi 6 will now support SOAP, WSDL and UDDI and so allow developers to build .Net applications in Java. JBuilder 6 will also incorporate a new tool for two-way modelling of components using UML (Universal Modelling Language). Two-way modelling means if you change the model, the code changes; if you change the code the model changes. The new tool is not meant to compete with the likes of Rational’s modelling tools, according to Borland strategy chief Ted Shelton. Rational’s modelling tools are designed to provide modelling for entire applications and enterprise systems, says Shelton, whereas this new functionality in JBuilder 6 is instead designed to support modelling parts of an application.
Borland will also announce next week that it is to ship a new low-cost web application server — a cut-down version of its enterprise application server product, AppServer.
Shelton says Borland has recognised that there is a growing market for something more reliable and scalable than open source application servers such as Tomcat but less expensive than a full-blown EJB (Enterprise Java Beans) server. Pricing for this new application server has not yet been announced, but is expected to be around $US200 to $US300 per server.
Shelton also talked enthusiastically about Borland’s new TeamSource web services. TeamSource is designed to provide developers with a mechanism for collaborating remotely on development projects using web-based services for source control, communication and file sharing. Support for TeamSource is built into the development environment of all new releases of all the Borland development tools — something Shelton believes will give it an advantage over other online source control systems solutions such as CVS or SourceForge.
TeamSource will be offered by Borland initially as an ASP service, but may also be offered as an off-the-shelf product later.
Evans is IDG Communications’ online business manager.