We test the top 6 Java visual IDEs

The latest pack of Java tools delivers full JDK 1.1 support, raises the bar on performance and features

As an IDC research analyst recently noted, 1997 was "the year of the [Java] tool." Indeed, in the June 1997 issue of JavaWorld, we offered the first comprehensive comparative review of the best JDK 1.0 tools (Asymetrix SuperCede 1.0, Microsoft Visual J++ 1.1, Sun Java WorkShop 1.0, Symantec Visual Café 1.0, and Visix Vibe). Since then, Java tools have matured, and now many provide full support of JDK 1.1 features. To help our readers evaluate this latest generation of visual integrated development environments (IDEs), JavaWorld in this issue compares the professional versions of the top six visual development tools for JDK 1.1:

  • Borland JBuilder 1.0 Professional
  • Cosmo Software Cosmo Code 2.5
  • IBM VisualAge for Java 1.0 Professional
  • Sun Java WorkShop 2.0
  • SuperCede Inc., SuperCede 2.0 Professional
  • Symantec Visual Café 2.1

Note that three of these six tools -- Borland JBuilder, IBM VisualAge for Java, and Cosmo Code -- are new (or were not released in time to be included in our last comparative review). The other three tools have been upgraded since our last review to include JDK 1.1 support and various enhancements.

The evolution of Java visual IDEs over the past nine months has been astounding. Last year, most Java tools wouldn't stand up against the capabilities of even the early versions of Borland C++. Fortunately, this new group of tools is powerful and friendly.

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