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Drag-and-Drop Editor Out for Linux Devs

Software developers at Innoopract released a Linux port to its Java programming tool for the Eclipse integrated development environment Tuesday, a move that's steps ahead of its competitors.

The software tool, World Wide Web Windowing Toolkit (W4T) Plug-In for Eclipse 3.0, transforms underlying Java code into Visual Basic-style code components -- scroll bars, forms, buttons -- that speed up the Web application process by 50 percent, according to officials with Innoopract.

According to a February survey of more than 400 Linux developers by Evans Data, Eclipse use has expanded 80 percent in the Linux world and is now the most-used IDE on developers' desktops.

The Eclipse IDE's stable version is currently at version 2.1.3; version 3.0 is in its beta "stream stable" build. Officials say Linux developers are welcome to download the free trial version until the final release of Eclipse 3.0 this summer; Innoopract will update its plug-in to meet the final Eclipse specifications. Developer licenses run $129 per seat and run-time licenses range between $199 and $2,999.

As Linux on the desktop continues to grow, said Jochen Krause, Innoopract founder and president, so too does the need for Linux-based development tools.

To date, editors for the open source operating system have been primarily text-based, which is fine for high-level Java programmers but a huge hurdle for novice programmers who are building user interfaces for customers, he told

"There are always those who say that the command line is great and you can do everything with Vi or Emacs, but we see more and more people moving to IDEs," he said. "People that develop at core tasks are not always the best programmers to build user interfaces, and maybe the 'drag-and-droppers' have a better understanding what the end user will be comfortable with."

The product's availability comes two days before Sun Microsystems launches an early access version of its Java Studio Creator, which, like the W4T plug-in, ties into the NetBeans IDEs to speed up the Java development process. JSC will include support for Windows, Linux and Solaris environments.