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BEA Packages Corporate Community for Developers

BEA Systems Monday launched its Controls and Extensibility program, designed to let Java developers create and market certified controls on its server software platform.

The Workshop Extensibility Development Kit, a free download, gives Java developers access to free code samples, tags, compilers, support, documentation and testing harness to make their coding experience within the WebLogic 8.1 Workshop environment as easy as possible.

"It's the logical integration relative to all the developer tools they already have (with Workshop), they already had a lot of the capabilities built in," said John Meyer, an analyst at Forrester Research. "For them to grow commercially, they have to create an environment similar to IBM, Sun and even Borland."

Workshop is a platform launched by BEA earlier this year that lets developers fiddle with the controls inside APIs , thus making programs reusable and customizable for other applications.

BEA said the pre-packaged code will allow developers to streamline the creation of customized programs companies need for their particular operations. On the plus side for BEA, it now has a control that can be quickly provided to any prospective customer, minus the scramble and cost to assemble a control for just that customer.

Now, developers -- whether they're independent software vendors or individuals -- pay a couple thousand dollars a year (BEA officials wouldn't elaborate on the exact figure) for validating their controls, IDE extensions or taglibs as 'certified BEA' controls through their marketing and business package.

BEA will then promote and make available the independent application to its customer base, on its Web site, issue joint press releases, and endorse the product.

"We do this so that the quality is the same as what we provide with our own products," said Dave Cotter, BEA director of developer product marketing. "Right now, there is no program for ISVs to take the core IDE and work with it."

While the impetus for Workshop may have come from a desire to compete on par with fellow J2EE software developer, IBM and its Websphere Studio platform, BEA is taking their game plan from Microsoft Corp. and its popular Visual Studio.

"Microsoft is the gold standard in developer relationships and installing a partner community around their toolkit," said Ted Schaedler, principal analyst at Forrester Research. "BEA, with Workshop, is able to mimic what Microsoft is able to do with Visual Studio. I think there's no coincidence the guys behind it are (former) Microsoft guys."