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IBM Boosts Software Toolbox Subscription

IBM Wednesday expanded licensing and added subscription levels for its developerWorks Toolbox subscription. The Armonk, N.Y. firm also offered subscription-based pricing for some of its products ordered through the Toolbox.

IBM's logic for offering the toolbox, something of an online warehouse full of developers tools, is that software developers often need to do more than build and test applications for front-end development on a single platform. They need to extend applications to multiple environments and test applications and Web services in a variety of environments.

IBM, which is aggressively hawking its on-demand computing as the overarching strategy to marketing many of its product lines, has made no bones about its desire to lure developer mindshare from the Microsoft camp, which hosts its own philosophical approach to software development with its Visual Studio environment. Offering attractively priced licensing for its WebShphere software infrastructure is one more way for them to tackle that daunting task.

According to Adrian Mitu, IBM market manager for WebSphere Studio, the Toolbox subscription offers developers a single-user annual license to build applications using IBM tools and middleware.

The meat of the Toolbox subscription is a license to use IBM WebSphere Studio, the development environment based on Eclipse used to craft on-demand e-business applications. Additional tools come from DB2, Tivoli, and Lotus, and the site contains resources for Linux, Web services, wireless, and Java development.

Wednesday's development is a broadening of options for software tools, Mitu said. Now, the developerWorks Toolbox new licensing enables individual developers to use WebSphere Studio products and middleware for development and test. Previously, developers could use these products only for evaluation and testing.

Mitu made it clear that while the products may be used for development, customers shouldn't expect to run their business on, say, IBM's DB2. The pricing scheme and offerings are tailored for consulting engagements, or other projects with a six-month to one-year timeframe.

"The subscription-based pricing lowers the entry price for the tools and gets the relevant middleware in the hands of developers," Mitu told internetnews.com. "It makes it easier for developers to create products using IBM middleware."

Each subscription level is tailored for specific development needs for middleware and technologies, including WebSphere V5. The new product arrangements are: WebSphere Studio Site Developer in the new Starter Level ($399), WebSphere Studio Application Developer at the Professional Level ($1,749), and both WebSphere Studio Application Developer Integration Edition and WebSphere Studio Enterprise Developer at the enterprise level ($3,349).

Mitu enumerated some of the items included in the Toolbox Professional edition, noting that it includes WebSphere Edge Server, Websphere Appication Server, development tools for iSeries, Informix, Tivoli Monitoring Workbench, DB2 Workbench and DB2 Enterprise Edition.

Subscription includes periodic issue CD shipments every 3 to 4 months. Alternatively, customers may get custom CDs containing only the products they choose.