March 31, 2004

Sun finally launches its own graphical Java platform

Author: Chris Preimesberger

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- Sun Microsystems at its quarterly "software summit" Tuesday announced that the beta version of Java Studio Creator, its drag-and-drop, rapid application development platform, will be available April 8 for download, with general access for the final build scheduled for sometime in June.Originally announced last June at JavaOne and known since then as Project Rave, Studio Creator has enjoyed quite a lot of advance popularity -- more than 10,000 people have already signed up for it. Free registration with Sun's developer program is required to download.

Studio Creator is the latest in the Sun Java pantheon of toolsets. The software has been in development for about 18 months, Jim Inscore, marketing manager for Sun's Corporate Developer Tools group, said Tuesday.

The release comes not a moment too soon, some might wisecrack.

A quick look around reveals that Sun is finally catching up with others in this area. PHP has Zend Studio. ActiveState's Komodo supports a number of languages, including Perl, PHP, Python, Tcl, and XSLT. Perl also has Oasis and WingIDE. Visual Basic, C/C++ and C# all have Microsoft's Visual Studio.

Studio Creator isn't even the first Java graphical tool suite. MetroWerks' CodeWarrior and the open source Forte for Java (now incorporated into the Sun catalog) have been around for a long time.

"Yes, it is kind of a no-brainer, but we wanted to get all the technology down first (to support J2EE 1.4)," Inscore said. "We wanted to do it right. It generates source code humans can edit. This is the first 'pure Java' graphical development platform, and we've been testing it for a long while. What we have come up with is a great toolset that simplifies everything with drag-and-drop and lots of automation. Very little code needs to be written most of the time."

A platform for them

"We know some of our more experienced programmers are going to say, 'Fine, now you've got a good platform for them, meaning the younger people," he said. "Of course, any developer using this has many options -- you can code everything by hand if you want."

Sun says that Studio Creator simplifies Java coding by providing "well-defined event handlers for incorporating business logic," without requiring developers to manage details of transactions, persistence, and other complexities. The platform has synchronized application editors to make sure that code quality is consistent in whichever methodology is being used, whether it is visual layout, use of property sheets and wizards, or writing code by hand.

Pricing is still being determined, Sun software executive Rich Green said.

Key features include:

  • the first release of JavaServer Faces, which allows for faster and more detailed QA
  • Java Enterprise System runtime for evaluation of apps in pre-production
  • PointBase, an SQL database server
  • the J2SE SDK

In other Sun news Wednesday, the company announced the availability of the latest version of Java Studio Enterprise.


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