Real-Time Coding, The P2P Way

Borland is launching an update to its Java IDE later this month featuring real-time code collaboration, the company is expected to announce Tuesday.

JBuilder 2006 is the latest in the Cupertino, Calif.-based company’s annual update to its popular Java-based development platform. JBuilder 2005 was released to developers in September 2004.

Filled with the refactoring , change tracking and search enhancements developers expect in tool updates, the latest release comes with a virtual peer programming addition. It’s a P2P feature that allows developers in the same building or in a cubicle halfway around the world to make real-world changes to the same code.

When developers worked on software projects in one building, it was relatively easy to work together to find a solution. But today’s world of globalization is changing the rules.

“There was always the ad hoc, walking over to your neighboring developer’s queue and working together in front of the same machine,” said Rob Cheng, Borland’s director of developer solutions. “As development teams have gotten more distributed, it’s become far more challenging to do these things; it’s taken a lot of the efficiency out of the cycle.”

Borland’s solution is an upgrade to the standard method of code-sharing, which involves one person making a change, saving it to the central server while another developer downloads the updated code and makes changes.

While those capabilities are still present in JBuilder 2006, called active differencing, the P2P aspect enhances those capabilities. The technology allows code changes and additions to be referenced to individual developers so project leads can roll back changes by particular individuals.

With JBuilder 2006, developers log onto the application and find out which developers are on the network. Security for the application is provided by an encrypted authentication token. An integrated chat feature allows them to open an online queue in order to work on the same source code.

The visual designer, source code editors and debuggers are all shareable. Similar in concept to Microsoft NetMeeting, one developer has control over the console to work on the code but can pass that control to other developers so they can make changes.

The P2P features and other improvements in JBuilder 2006 will find their way into one of the components on Borland’s core software delivery platform for application lifecycle management (ALM), Core::Developer.

The functionality will also be part of upcoming technology due from Borland based on the open source Eclipse framework. Earlier this year Borland re-joined the Eclipse Foundation as a director and began work to integrate its applications on the platform.

In June, the company announced that its software modeling product line, Together, was fully integrated with the Eclipse framework.

The move to Eclipse allows the open source community to work on core framework improvements, letting Borland developers focus on the company-specific features — like P2P — that differentiate JBuilder and the rest of its product suite from the competition.

The next version of the JBuilder IDE, code named Peloton, is due early next year.

JBuilder 2006 will be available for customer shipment in mid-September. Current customers on Borland’s support and maintenance plan can upgrade for free.

In related news, Borland announced the next version of its application performance management tool, Optimizeit 2006, is now available. As with JBuilder 2006, support and maintenance subscribers can upgrade at no extra charge.

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