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
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

“We think that dynamic languages are a
crucial part of IT infrastructure and are often neglected,” David Ascher,
chief technologist at ActiveState told “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

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
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
“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.”

News Around the Web