RealTime IT News

ActiveState's Dynamic Release

For many developers, there's usually more than one dynamic language that they use to do their jobs. It's also ActiveState's job with its latest IDE release for professional developers using open source dynamic languages, Komodo 3.0.

Dynamic languages such as Perl, PHP, Python , Tcl and XSLT are all part of the Komodo IDE, which strives to make developers lives easier by offering a common interface and toolset to develop in multiple languages.

"We think that dynamic languages are a crucial part of IT infrastructure and are often neglected," David Ascher, chief technologist at ActiveState told internetnews.com. "There's lots of talk about the Microsoft platform and lot's about the Java platform. But a lot of the real work that occurs in IT shops tends to involve more than one language strategy, and those dynamic languages play a huge part in that."

Komodo 3.0 features a new debugger based on the open source DBGp protocol, which allows developers to debug code on the client and the server. It is also extensible and open in case new dynamic languages need to be added.

The product also features new code and object browsers intended to allow developers a better understanding of the structure of their code. Multi-user capability, source code controls and other enterprise-ready collaborative features are also a part of the new IDE.

ActiveState realized through user feedback that developers don't just use their own code, Ascher explained, but also huge libraries that they download from the Web. Komodo 3.0's code and object browsing now lets them search those code bases, as well.

Komodo holds on to a particular developer niche, one that both complements and competes with other industry offerings.

Zend Technologies, which bills itself as "The PHP Company," recently released Zend Studio for PHP. According to Matt Herdon, director of product management at ActiveState, Zend doesn't have the same focus as Komodo, which is multiple dynamic languages, as opposed to a core focus on only one.

Komodo contends with Microsoft Visual Studio, another industry heavyweight, but this doesn't concern Herdon.

"Komodo is an alternative for developers that are not 100 percent committed to Windows," Herdon told internetnews.com. "Because it's cross platform, you get the same features across all the different platforms."

Recognizing that Microsoft Visual Studio users can be very tied into their environments, ActiveState also produces a number of dynamic language plug-ins as separate product offerings. These plug-ins (Visual Perl, Visual Python, Visual XSLT) let developers code in those open source dynamic languages inside of their familiar Visual Studio environment.

Komodo is also linked to Mozilla, a popular cross-platform, open source application.

"We were one of the first serious applications built on top of the Mozilla Framework before even the Mozilla Foundation was started," ActiveState's Ascher explained.

Anti-virus company Sophos acquired ActiveState last year. This allowed Sophos to re-brand ActiveState's PureMessage anti-spam application under the Sophos brand. Beyond that, Sophos has allowed ActiveState to concentrate on its tools applications, which, according to Herdon, is the focus of the company's re-branding and repositioning effort.

"Once the dust settled from the acquisition, it allowed us to take a look at our business plan -- revisit it and refocus and eliminate all the noise from having had an anti-spam solution, Herdon said. "Now we're all about tools and dynamic languages."