Optimize with a SATA RAID Storage Solution
Range of capacities as low as $1250 per TB. Ideal if you currently rely on servers/disks/JBODs
In this review, we focus on Java development tools available on PCs running Microsoft Windows 95 or NT, because the majority of Java developers use such machines. Collectively, the five tools in this review boast hundreds of thousands of users on Windows. Many of these tools are, or soon will be, available on at least one other platform (the Mac or a Unix flavor such as Solaris). (Non-Windows developers take heart: JavaWorld plans a follow-up to our August 1996 review of Mac IDEs, as well as occasional reviews of new tools for other platforms.)
To qualify for this review, tools needed to be visual IDEs for Java. That is, the tools needed to have a graphical (dialog) editor, a code editor, a compiler, a project management and build controller ("builder"), and a debugger -- all integrated to work well together and produce code in Java.
With any comparative review of multiple development tools, the reviewers and editors face the insurmountable challenge of including the latest release of each of the top tools on the market. This is a rapidly moving target in any case, and especially tough with the hyper-evolving Java tools market. This review was no exception: The lineup of products and version numbers changed several times during the multi-month review, and as we publish this, updates of these products are being released. Furthermore, the first release of new tools, like IBM's Visual Age for Java, Borland's JBuilder and Metrowerks' CodeWarrior, are being shipped. Yet if we waited a few weeks or a few months to conduct the review, the same problem would occur. Tools vendors (thankfully) refuse to sit still, making it all but impossible to schedule a review such as this to satisfy every contender's wishes. Impassioned pleas such as "Just wait for version 2.0 to ship next month!" and "But we're about to release our new development tool!" won't cease next month -- or next year. Therefore, we pushed ahead.
We looked at the leading vendors' products and found that the following five fully released Java tools each provided a visual development environment on Windows 95/NT (as of April 1, 1997):
All of the tools reviewed are based on JavaSoft JDK 1.02 (except Visix Vibe, which uses its own libraries); some vendors are now offering JDK 1.1-based updates to their tools. (Check the vendors' Web sites for the latest update information.) Bear in mind that these updates are not tested in this article, and we don't know how strongly the tools support the new functionality. For example, JDK 1.1 includes JavaBeans, but the updates may not yet include a wizard to help you create your own Beans.