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Sun Upgrades JSE, NetBeans

Sun Microsystems announced the availability of two upgrades to its software development platforms on Tuesday.

Java Studio Enterprise (JSE) 7, the Santa Clara, Calif., company's corporate-level development environment, is available for download and purchase immediately, while a free download of NetBeans 4.0 will be out Wednesday.

Officials also announced Sun Studio 10 -- the 32- and 64-bit development platform for C, C++ and Fortran languages on the Solaris operating system -- would be released alongside the anticipated launch of Solaris 10 next month.

JSE encompasses the development process for the Java Enterprise System (JES), integrating with Sun's Java System Application Server, Web Server, Portal Server, Directory Server, Identity Server and Message Queue. JSE 7 has three key features to go along with the standard crop of improvements: support for UML 2.0, developer collaboration and an application profiler. Each adds another layer of functionality and performance improvements to make the base IDE offering more compelling.

Although JSE was designed to get enterprise applications up-and-running in the shortest amount of time, officials at Sun said the inclusion of UML into the software development tool was one of the biggest requests from customers.

"There's a set of enterprise developers that actually need UML capabilities for documentation purposes and also the trend for leveraging partners for development and the increasing need for having an architecture and design specified," said Chris Atwood, Sun JSE director of engineering, in a news conference Tuesday.

Atwood also pointed at a growing need for collaboration among developers at remote locations. Increasingly, in-house software projects don't refer just to projects within one building, but at different locations under the corporate umbrella.

To address this need, JSE 7 features a jumped-up instant messaging tool, called code-aware instant messaging (IM). Almost like a mini-IDE window, the chat window features syntax coloring, code completion and documentation pop-ups for Java, XML or HTML formats. A real-time file sharing component allows for the simultaneous editing of the same file, producing a warning when two people work on the same region of code.

The third key feature in JSE 7, application profiling, is a tool to monitor and analyze the performance of applications under development, before they're installed for production use. It's broken down into three areas: load testing, letting developers simulate any number of people using the application at once; method-level profiling, which allows developers to test individual methods within an application, saving the results for future use; and Java 2, Enterprise Edition transaction monitoring, which captures all browser-based transaction details.

Pricing on JSE 7 depends on whether the company is currently a customer. A new license will run $1,895 (either on CD or with the download), while an upgrade costs $995. A subscription license of $5 extends to individual employee use, with a minimum of 1,000 employees. Sun is running a promotion until June 30, 2005, that allows companies to purchase a bundled JSE 7 (upgrade) and Java Studio Creator license for $995.

JSE 7 is available on the Windows, Solaris 8 and 9 (SPARC platform), and Solaris 9 (x86 platform) operating systems.

Available Wednesday, the final version of NetBeans 4.0 has been available in one form of beta or another since August. As previously announced, the biggest addition to NetBeans 4.0 is complete support for Java 2, Standard Edition (J2SE) 5.0 -- which features a number of language improvements to include metadata and autoboxing -- and a project system based on the Apache Software Foundation's Apache Ant.

NetBeans 4.0 will be available as a free download here or on Sun's Web site here.