An initiative driving interoperability across rival vendors’ Java application development tools has been launched without support from the industry’s two largest players.
Borland Software Corp and IBM Corp are missing from a line-up of nine ISVs, led by Sun Microsystems Inc, who yesterday unveiled the Java Tools Community (JTC).
Instead, JTC has received backing from, among others, BEA Systems, Oracle, which has been instrumental in building JTC since last summer, Compuware, SAP and SAS Institute.
The absence of Borland and IBM, though, meant JTC supporters were left to downplay concerns of increased fragmentation between competing Java tools frameworks – the opposite of JTC’s intended goal.
Borland and IBM occupy the top positions in Java IDE market share, according to analysts, while BEA, Oracle and Sun, especially, are attempting to grow their presence among developers.
The philosophy is not focussed on whom, as much as how many, said Oracle chief architect, application development tools Ted Farrell said of JTC. We are announcing this to get more people involved.
Joe Keller, Sun vice president of marketing for Java, web services and tools, said Sun would continue to hold open an invitation to Borland and IBM.
However, one senior source in the Java community, who wished to remain anonymous, told ComputerWire: They are hoping to generate the perception there’s a cohesive tools community out there but if you don’t have the two largest tools players in the market I’m hard pressed to see that.
For its part, Borland believes the JTC is premature, as the organization’s relationship with the standards-setting body the Java Community Process (JCP) hasn’t been adequately defined.
It’s premature to go out until that has been put in place, said the vice president and general manager of Borland’s Java business group George Paolini.
BEA’s director of developer marketing Dave Cotter admitted work remained on the JTC’s structure and role: There’s a lot of discussion to be had on the finer points of the process.
The JTC will work within the JCP submitting Java Specification Requests (JSRs) and comment on JSRs and resultant APIs it believes are suited for Java tools. However, a Java test compatibility kit is not on the table, which is something that could help ensure vendors who do implement JTC-backed APIs do so in a standards-based format.
IBM was unable to comment on its absence from the JTC at the time of going to press.
JTC is the latest in a number of ongoing attempts to drive interoperability across different Java vendors’ runtimes and tools. These include a set of APIs for common programming of some features in the competing WebSphere and WebLogic application servers announced in November, and JSR 198 published by Oracle in November 2002.
The absence of IBM from the JTC, in particular, will raise questions over the motives for JTC’s formation. Sun in December rejected an offer to join the IBM-dominated Eclipse, which is building an interoperable framework for application development tools around IBM’s WebSphere Studio IDE.
Concern also centers on why Sun and others have created the JTC, when JCP efforts such as JSR 198, are already underway for interoperability between Java IDEs.
Many believe this is simply the latest round in a long-running battle between Sun and IBM to establish their dominance over the Java community. Keller defended JCT saying IBM could implement JCT-friendly APIs once approved by the JCP, as IBM is a member of the JCP.
This article is based on material originally produced by ComputerWire.