NetBeans adds ties to devices, ALM

Sun-driven open source platform boosted by Ricoh, Intland

Sun Microsystems will advance the NetBeans open source tools platform on devices and the application lifecycle management (ALM) front on Thursday.

Sun and the NetBeans community are announcing the availability of NetBeans Mobility Pack for Connected Device Configuration (CDC) 5.5 for developing applications for devices such as full-featured smart phones. NetBeans also is being fitted with a plug-in for ALM, which could be a precursor to a full-scale NetBeans ALM initiative. Featuring code contributions from Ricoh, the CDC pack provides for visual design and development of Java ME (Java Platform, Micro Edition) applications for devices using CDC. The CDC technology features an embedded Java solution for smart phones, set-top boxes, and multifunction peripherals.

"[CDC is] designed to run on systems with a more powerful processor and additional memory" than standard phones used for voice calls, said Dan Roberts, Sun's director of developer tools marketing. A smart phone can feature applications such as e-mail and calendaring.

"The CDC market is relatively small, but it's a growing market," Roberts said.

NetBeans offers support for CDC that is lacking in the rival Eclipse open source tools initiative, Roberts claimed. "Eclipse doesn't really have support at all for CDC, so this isn't an area that they're investing significant resources in," he said.

"This is a significant area of leadership for NetBeans in the Java ME space," Roberts said. However, an Eclipse Foundation representative said Eclipse supports CDC in its Mobile Tools for the Java Platform. The NetBeans Mobility Pack for CDC 5.5 will be available for download here next week.

Intland Software, meanwhile, has developed a plug-in for its Java-based CodeBeamer ALM platform. The open source plug-in links to the NetBeans IDE. The company is making available an open source version of CodeBeamer for 15 users.Intland is providing ALM capabilities, including enterprise wiki and project management functions as well as trackers for bugs, tasks, changes, and requirements. The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service uses CodeBeamer and NetBeans for a software development operation that includes more than 675 users and 200 projects in diverse locations, Sun said.

Intland is participating in the NetBeans Strategic Partner Program.

Asked if an ALM project was being planned as an addition to NetBeans, Roberts said, "That hasn't been announced of yet. It's been long discussed." But NetBeans does need to do more in the ALM space, he said. "We certainly recognize the importance that ALM plays in the industry," said Roberts.

The Eclipse Foundation has an ALM project underway: the Eclipse Application Lifecycle Framework.

NetBeans is gaining more traction and partners, said analyst Joe Niski of Burton Group. "In the last year, it has become a more viable alternative to Eclipse for Java development," Niski said. Sun's strategy to revitalize NetBeans is to quickly add new Java language features, he said.

At the moment, at least, it does not appear that Sun is moving in the direction of participating in the more broadly accepted Eclipse program. Roberts applauded the Eclipse Foundation for its recent decision to join the Java Community Process, of which Sun is a key participant.

"We're happy to welcome them into the JCP, though I am not a representative of the JCP," Roberts said.

Sun's decision in November to open source Java, meanwhile, is being accommodated by NetBeans, Roberts said. Plug-ins and projects are in various stages of release to help developers get started with viewing code to make changes to the Standard and Enterprise editions of Java, Roberts said.

Paul Krill is editor at large at InfoWorld.

Learn more about this topic

NetBeans community

Eclipse's Mobile Tools for the Java Platform

The NetBeans Mobility Pack for CDC 5.5 will be available for download here

Intland Software

Eclipse Application Lifecycle Framework

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