IBM pries lid off new Linux toolkits

IBM bolstered its support for the Linux development community on Monday unveiling its WebSphere Studio Application Developer for Linux along with WebSphere Studio Site Developer, both of which are built on the company's Eclipse open-source development platform.

The Application Developer set of tools is primarily designed to make it easier for developers to build, test, deploy, and maintain new applications. The new set of tools includes an integrated test environment that supports the 7.1 releases of both the Red Hat and SuSE version of Linux.

The new WebSphere Site Developer is also an integrated set of tools that helps developers to create, manage, and maintain Web sites serving as vehicles for e-business. The toolkit includes integrated Java, XML, and Web services development environments intended to streamline the development process, making it more efficient and simpler.

In concert with the Linux version of Application Developer, IBM also released a refreshed version of the toolset for Windows that now supports Windows XP along with support of several languages, including French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese.

"Using an Eclipse-based toolset, we think it allows customers to standardize on a single development environment, and so [they] can focus on building applications using best-of-breed tools from a number of different vendors. They don't have to devote a lot of time to what can be the cumbersome and time-consuming task of tool integration," said Scott Hebner, director of marketing for WebSphere at IBM in Somers, N.Y.

In a set of complementary announcements, IBM on Monday released a series of plug-in packages designed to extend WebSphere Studio for building wireless, portal, and voice applications. The plug-ins are expected to be available in May.

Among those plug-in products is WebSphere's first EveryPlace Toolkit, which enables Web developers to create wireless e-business applications and portlets using HTML, WML (Wireless Markup Language), and Compact HTML.

The new toolkit makes it possible for nonprogrammers to create wireless applications without having to know programming details such as connectivity requirements and the limitations of a range of mobile devices.

The company's first Portal Toolkit also allows programmers to create, test, and debug Web applications as portlets. Included are samples and templates that help guide developers through the creation of portlets or portal applications.

A spruced-up version of WebSphere Voice Toolkit helps developers debug applications by zeroing in on where the VoiceXML code needs to be modified to match the required application flow.

Ed Scannell is an InfoWorld editor at large.

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