Pollinating the Beehive

Java software maker Instantiations, Inc., is providing code for a new
project that will connect the SOA and
enterprise application framework of Apache Beehive to the Eclipse project.

The code, a set of plug-ins and UI components
dubbed Eclipse Pollinate, enables J2EE developers to create
advanced applications using Beehive for their network in the Eclipse IDE
, freeing them from much of the drudgework involved in reusing
code.

BEA Systems created Beehive, a set of software components, in May when the company open-sourced
several functions out of its WebLogic Workshop, its own proprietary
IDE. The functions include: Controls, for creating and re-using code; Java Page Flow, for
Web-based UI and application creation; and Metadata for Web Services, which
is BEA’s support for Java Specification Request-175 (JSR-175).
The Apache Software Foundation later picked up the project.

Project Beehive allows developers to incorporate the drag-and-drop
functionality and is akin to Microsoft’s popular .NET framework.
Tied to an IDE, Beehive provides for a Visual Basic style of programming
that makes it more manageable for novice Java developers and more
time-efficient.

With the Instantiations’ plug-ins, Eclipse is the fourth top-level IDE
to support the Apache Beehive project, which is due to enter beta testing this fall.
Borland Software’s JBuilder, Compuware’s OptimalJ and BEA’s WebLogic Workshop are already on board.

Officials expect the Eclipse Pollinate plug-ins to mirror the development of
Apache Beehive. A finalized product of Eclipse Pollinate is expected in the second quarter
of 2005.

According to Dave Cotter, BEA director of WebLogic developer product
management, an Eclipse plug-in has been in high demand since the launch of
Beehive.

“I have every indication developers will be very pleased that Eclipse and
Beehive have now come together, and I can’t imagine that they won’t just eat
it up and become very active in both of the communities — Eclipse and
Apache,” he said.

Not everyone is as enthused about Beehive, however. Chris Bell, a product
marketing official from competitor WebMethods, said BEA’s open-sourcing of
some of its Workshop components wasn’t entirely altruistic, as applications
created using Beehive components must run on BEA’s WebLogic Server.

“BEA seems to be responding to some salvos IBM threw their way around the
‘proprietary’ nature of BEA’s Workshop IDE,” he said. “BEA was pretty
sensitive about this and later came out with this ‘open source’ story. But,
they really haven’t released their grip on their proprietary technology
hold. Whenever a developer uses that BEA technology, the results will be
that it must still run in BEA’s Workshop environment.”

The Beehive Project FAQ site bears that out, saying WebLogic Server “is the
only J2EE-compliant server on which Beehive runs.” However, the page also
indicates Beehive will run on Apache’s open-source Tomcat reference
implementation for Java servlet engines, and that there is nothing stopping
developers from creating a port that allows Beehive to run on other app
servers.

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