IBM unveils slew of developer tools

WebSphere and VisualAge for Java updates, Linux tools all announced at IBM technical developers conference

IBM on Wednesday used its Solutions technical developers conference in San Francisco to announce a range of new and updated developer tools.

The list included WebSphere Studio Version 4, its first commercially available set of Web services and JavaServer Pages development tools that enable software developers to create Web-based applications and extend their existing applications to the Web with minimal knowledge of Java, XML or SOAP.

IBM officials said WebSphere Studio 4 will be available from 28 August and will cost $599 per copy for the Professional Edition and $1,999 a copy for the Advanced Edition. Both editions will include the beta version of WebSphere Studio Site Developer, IBM's development environment for Web site developers.

IBM's senior vice president of Software Steve Mills also announced the availability of VisualAge for Java Version 4, which includes a beta version of IBM's new WebSphere Studio Application Developer -- its next-generation development environment for Java technology and J2EE application developers. The Enterprise Edition will cost $2,999 a copy.

For Linux developers, IBM announced that its free tool development kit, WebSphere Studio Workbench, will be available for download from on 28 August. The Workbench allows Linux software vendors to integrate their own tools portfolio with IBM's.

An additional offering for developers is IBM's WebSphere Private UDDI Registry, available as a free download, which will enable companies to implement Web services technologies in the controlled environment of a private intranet or extranet.

In addition, Big Blue said that it is expanding its developer support, with a range of programs geared to help software developers take advantage of Web services built on its open standards-based middleware.

These include WebSphere for Newcomers, an initiative to help grow the current WebSphere Developer Community from its current 600,000 base to one million by the end of the year. IBM has also created more than 100 new user groups for WebSphere developers in more than 40 countries. WebSphere Developer Domain will be available in China later this year and will include localised and translated content to address developer needs in China.

IBM also announced a single portal platform, formed by merging the functions of the Lotus K-Station portal into the IBM WebSphere Portal Server, IBM's portal framework.

Mills said WebSphere Portal Server takes advantage of the power and scalability of the WebSphere Application Server, IBM's core technology for Web-based applications. The portal software will allow companies to build next-generation portals that offer users a personalised, secure, single point of interaction with people, content, applications and processes.

It also supports a range of pervasive devices, enabling users to interact with business-to-enterprise, business-to-business and business-to-consumer portals anywhere, any time and on any device.

Tivoli Systems, an IBM company, also announced the Tivoli Policy Director Version 3.8, its software that enables organisations to control wired and wireless access to applications and data.

Version 3.8, expected to be available worldwide 28 September, includes new browser-based tools that provide a secure management portal view for distributed and delegated security management to business units and affiliates. The software also adds platform support for Linux. Pricing was not disclosed and will be based on the number of users and volume of licences purchased, IBM executives said.

On the Linux/Unix front, Mills told reporters in a question-and-answer session that Linux could become the eventual successor to its AIX Unix offering and many other Unix systems. "It has the potential to get there, but 'When?' is the question, as Linux just doesn't yet have all the functionality to do that just yet," Mills said. "But this will happen over time, and IBM is focused on helping make Linux grow up so it can become the future of our Unix offerings."

IBM also announced that it had formed two new alliances, with the SAS Institute and edocs.

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