CodeGear Readies C++ and Ruby on Rails IDEs

Despite a tumultuous 15 months, Borland's developer tools subsidiary CodeGear is cranking out products. Spun off as a subsidiary in November, CodeGear expects to ship a major revision of its C++ Builder integrated development environment (IDE) next month. A commercial Ruby on Rails IDE for enterprise Web development is slated for the second half of this year. Both products were announced this week.

As the company moves ahead, the plan is to refocus on core strengths, such as rapid application development (RAD) for native Windows applications and tools that enhance open source development.

"Microsoft has RAD for the .NET platform and one of our big differentiators is that we have RAD for native Windows," said Michael Swindell, CodeGear's vice president of products and strategy. "Our Delphi and C++ products are native RAD solutions, meaning they give you all of the rapid application development capabilities, database connectivity, components and visual development for native Windows."

CodeGear's new C++ Builder 2007 product will add support for Vista application programming interfaces and graphical user interfaces, such as the Aero interface. Developers can take existing C++ source code and recompile it as a Vista-enabled application. The upgrade also supports the DBX 4 database framework, the latest ANSI C++ standards and libraries (Boost and Dinkumware), and it offers better IDE performance, Swindell said. Pricing for the Professional Edition will be $899, and $399 for upgrades. The Enterprise Edition will cost $1,999, and $1,299 for upgrades.

Ruby on Rails IDE
Later this year, CodeGear is entering the Ruby tools space, joining the ranks of Sun, ActiveState and Microsoft. CodeGear's Ruby on Rails IDE, which is not yet named, is available now in beta. The product is targeted at enterprise developers working on Rails apps and supports Windows XP, Mac, or Linux platforms. The Rails IDE is the second product based on CodeGear's Eclipse-based platform (formerly code-named Peleton).

"Ruby on Rails provides a tremendous amount of productivity advantages for developers building applications with very minimal code, but those advantages come at a cost," Swindell said. "There is a lot of magic behind the scenes, so we tried to put that back in the tooling, so that it helps developers understand what is happening in their applications from a Rails-centric approach."

The new Rails platform offers key IDE functionality such as refactoring, code completion, type browsing and navigation, according to CodeGear. It also introduces a unique feature, called "Commanders," which is the ability to dynamically switch between typing on command lines and the IDE's tools, which are all integrated into the command line.

On the Move
The new releases follow months of uncertainty. Borland put DevCo, its tools division, on the block in February 2006. However, after eight months and no buyer, the company announced plans for a wholly owned subsidiary instead.

The distractions haven't affected the product release schedule. In December, CodeGear shipped JBuilder 2007 for Eclipse. February saw the rollout of Delphi 2007 for Win32, as well as Delphi for PHP, which was pitched as the first RAD IDE for PHP.

This spring, CodeGear announced a change in management. Jim Douglas replaced Ben Smith as chief executive in early April.

Despite all the activity, CodeGear must find a way to profit as a dev tools vendor in a market where free, low-cost and open source tooling present appealing options.

"Developers and corporations in particular, will pay for value received," said Jonathan Eunice, principal IT advisor at Illuminata, an IT consultancy in Nashua, New Hampshire. "So I read their corporate strategy and their product strategy as, 'just provide that extra something that you can't get from Eclipse or Visual Studio -- make it faster, make it more productive and make it more rapid.'"

About the Author

Kathleen Richards is the editor of and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.


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