Borland unifies Windows dev tools

Unifying its developer offerings for Windows, Borland Software on Monday will announce Borland Developer Studio, an environment that includes the latest versions of the company's Delphi, C++ Builder and C# Builder tools.

Featured are the 2006 versions of these three tools, with links to Borland's CalibreRM requirements management software, StarTeam change management, and Together modeling capabilities. Shipping late this year and formerly code-named Project DeXter, Borland Developer Studio is to be available in multiple versions based on the level of needs.

"With Borland Developer Studio, we are offering in a single, integrated environment support for the Delphi language, C++, and C#," said Rob Cheng, director of product marketing for developer solutions at Borland.

The company also will continue to sell the three products under their traditional brands, but the IDE will be the same. Users can choose to install just the languages they need, Cheng said.

Borland is positioning Developer Studio as an enabler for developing both traditional Windows 32-bit applications as well as newer .Net applications. This provides an advantage over Microsoft with its Visual Studio package, said Cheng.

"Microsoft is really trying to push developers to .Net as fast as they can, but a lot of developers we've found have a need to continue to maintain and build new applications on the traditional, Windows 32-bit platform as well as the new .Net," Cheng said.

Borland's approach in accommodating 32-bit Windows development is on target, according to analyst Rikki Kirzner, a partner at Hurwitz & Associates. "The reality is that companies that have legacy investments in that software are not necessarily going to take the risks [of moving to .Net] if they don't have to," Kirzner said.

Featured as part of Delphi 2006 and C# Builder 2006 is the ECO III (Enterprise Core Objects) framework, which provides common services that developers otherwise have to build themselves. ECO III includes services such as object-relational mapping and object persistence, which have been well-supported in Java environments but not in .Net, Cheng said.

ECO III also features a synchronization server, which allows for data to be cached in multiple places simultaneously to improve application performance.

Delphi 2006 and C# Builder 2006 are bundled with capabilities from Borland's Together modeling software for UML modeling and reverse engineering of code.

All three tools feature integration with CalibreRM, providing requirements management and bug tracking. Users still would need to purchase CalibreRM separately. StarTeam change management also is integrated with all three offerings. It, too, would have to be purchased separately.

C++ Builder 2006 and Delphi 2006 also have an updated visual component library allowing developers to quickly build interfaces. Components such as a grid layout have been added for dropping components onto applications. A flow layout to connect components also is featured.

A WYSIWYG Web page design function is offered in C++ Builder 2006 as well.

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