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Rational Software Bows XDE Professional v2002

Rational Software is marrying design to development with its launch Tuesday of XDE Professional v2002, an integrated development environment (IDE) tool for both .Net and J2EE programmers.

The two services, launched separately but at the same price tag of $2,995 per licensee ($4,195 for the Plus version), signals Rational's expectations for the future of Web development. Java (developed Sun Microsystems ) and Microsoft Corp.'s C# programming languages have emerged as the dominant platforms for applications of the future, most of which will run in real-time intranet/Internet environments.

Both software camps are excited about what the software package will do to enhance their existing studio environments for future programming projects at business large and small.

"Rational XDE Professional, combined with IBM WebSphere Studio Application Developer, provides all developers with a common Enterprise solution, whether they are utilizing rigorous and long-lived models, lightweight disposable models, or prefer to work with Java source code," said Lee Nackman, IBM vice president of application development."

We are very excited to work with Rational on Rational XDE Professional, a new tool that complements the Visual Studio .NET environment both for the individual developer, as well as large, distributed development teams," said Tom Button, Microsoft developer tool management vice president. "Rational has done a stellar job of integrating their tools in the Visual Studio .NET environment and providing valuable functionality to developers.

The importance of software packages like Rational's will become more evident as time goes by and corporations start developing applications that run over the Internet and involve programmers from all its many divisions.

Imported into existing Visual Studio .Net and IBM WebSphere Studio Workbench (one of many Java IDEs), XDE Professional integrates the tools for down-and-dirty coding and the design/modeling tools programmers and managers need to focus on the "big picture" with other development teams.

The software package comes chock full of extras, including templates and a pattern engine with more than 80 examples. Instant UML, a notational language for object-oriented projects, lets developers speed up their time-consuming documentation support requirements.

The two languages have all but become a standard for developing Web applications. Their common roots in C have made it easy from programmers to migrate to one of the two languages without having to learn a new skillset.

Mark Driver, an analyst with research company Gartner, said while both are the de facto standards in the development community, neither will likely completely dominate the industry in the coming years.

Despite the seeming differences in Java and C#, especially from an ideological standpoint (Java is open source, C# is not), both languages have the same roots, C and C++, and share many similarities.

Big corporations tend to follow Microsoft's lead when it comes to computer-related tools and services, making .Net an easy choice for many IT managers. But Java has the support of much of the independent programming community, with its open source and plethora of tools and applets online for download, and with Sun users.

Regardless of language, Driver said companies will need plenty of tools on hand when it comes to Web development in the future.

"Developers working on either platform will be faced with challenges and opportunities for which they will need new skills, best practices and integrated development tools to capitalize on these technologies," he said.

Current Rational customers can upgrade to XDE Pro free of charge, depending on the service they are contracted to at the moment. They include Rational Rose Enterprise, Suite Development Studio and Suite Enterprise users.