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Sun Studio Enterprise 8: Free To Members Only

UPDATED: Sun Microsystems announced the availability of its updated enterprise-grade IDE , Java Studio Enterprise 8 (JSE 8), with an offer it hopes you can't refuse.

The Santa Clara, Calif., Java steward is giving the software away to members of its Sun Developer Network (SDN) in an effort to build up its community and get developers to buy some of its high-end offerings in the enterprise arena.

But if you decide not to join SDN, the new license fee costs $1,895.

A free download of the Java Studio Creator, used to create Web applications in Java, is also available to SDN members. Sun officials quietly launched the free product download from the NetBeans.org Web site recently, available on the Windows, Linux, Mac OS and Solaris SPARC and x86 operating systems. Studio Creator is regularly priced at $99.

Users click on the download section at the SDN site and are directed to the download page. A serial license number is e-mailed to the account holder and is needed to activate the software when installed.

"Our executives continually say to us that developers don't buy things, they join things," said Robin Smith, Sun's Java Studio Enterprise product line manager. "It enables our Sun developer network audience and allows developers to join and get access to the technology and deploy applications that developers can use to run on the Java Enterprise System and Java System Suites."

JSE is Sun's IDE for building networked applications on the Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) platform. JSE is integrated with the Java Enterprise System -- the suite of enterprise offerings that includes the System Access Manager, Messaging Server, Sun Cluster and Portal Server -- and the Java System Suites.

By offering developers something free in return for joining its network, Sun hopes to ring up future sales of its enterprise infrastructure software suite.

The offering is also a hedge against the increasing popularity of the Eclipse Foundation, which provides an open source IDE for the Java EE platform and is supported by a large number of corporate sponsors and individual developers.

The company, along with their strategic decision to release JSE for free, has also made a number of improvements to the latest edition of JSE.

As with the latest releases of competitor enterprise IDEs, notably Borland's JBuilder 2006, real-time code collaboration is a key ingredient in software development.

JSE 8 provides what officials call code-aware instant messaging, chat messages that retain syntax and code coloring as well as code completion and documentation pop-ups. Also included in the real-time improvements of the platform is the real-time file sharing of documents, allowing developers in remote locations to virtually sit in on development meetings and edit the same piece of code in a project.

Other features in JSE 8 include:

  • support for Java 2, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.4
  • support for mobile and wireless application development
  • built-in support for CVS management
  • integrated support for the Unified Modeling Language 2.0 (UML 2.0)
  • application profiling to tune application performance or simulate Web application behavior

      JSE 8 runs on Windows XP and 2000, Solaris 9 and 10 on the SPARC platform, and Solaris 10 on x86 and AMD64 platform.

      While the company announced the pricing and improvements to the IDE as a showcase item at its JavaOne Tokyo developer conference Wednesday, officials said JSE 8 has been generally available for the past few weeks.

    • Corrects headline of original version, as well as specifies Java Studio Creator availability.