JBuilder Integrates Swing Designer
- By John K. Waters
CodeGear has teamed up with Instantiations, a provider of software products, services and technologies for Eclipse, Java and Smalltalk. The companies plan to add Instantiations' Swing Designer visual layout tools to CodeGear's JBuilder integrated development environment (IDE). Swing Designer will be part of the JBuilder 2008 release, due in April from CodeGear, the development-tools arm of Borland Software Corp. JBuilder will be the first commercial Java IDE to integrate this technology, company representatives said.
According to Jeff Anders, CodeGear's senior director of product marketing, JBuilder users were unhappy with the GUI builder in the 2007 version of their favorite IDE.
"That was when we made the move to the Eclipse platform," Anders said. "JBuilder had a very good GUI builder in previous versions, and the existing customer base was disappointed when we didn't deliver a similar feature in JBuilder 2007. So we looked for the right technology that we could integrate seamlessly with the next release. We think that this integration will not only get those customers on a par with what they had before, but surpass it."
Instantiations' Swing Designer is a bidirectional Java GUI designer built as an Eclipse plug-in. It's part of the WindowBuilder Pro family (along with SWT Designer and GWT Designer). It's designed to allow developers to add controls using drag-and-drop, to add event handlers to controls, and to change properties of controls using a familiar object inspector. The tool will appear in JBuilder 2008 as "just another feature in the IDE," Anders said. "No separate licensing or registration for the user."
Portland, OR-based Instantiations is a founding member of the Eclipse Foundation, and specializes in Java development tools and related products and services. The company has been working with Scotts Valley, Calif.-based CodeGear (also an Eclipse Foundation member) to provide a promotional bundle of the Instantiations Swing Designer with any new or upgrade purchase of JBuilder 2007.
JBuilder 2007 is the first version of the venerable IDE built on the open source Eclipse framework. Instantiations' Swing Designer was built exclusively for the Eclipse framework. "Put them together, and developers have a powerful IDE with a GUI designer that transparently handles code generation without proprietary markers or fragile intermediate files," Anders said.
The two companies made a joint announcement of the upcoming integration at the EclipseCon 2008 conference, underway this week in Santa Clara, Calif. (March 17 to 20).
"There is a great deal of innovation coming from Eclipse Foundation members like CodeGear and Instantiations," said Eclipse Foundation executive director Mike Milinkovich, in a statement. "Combining the individual innovation from these two member companies into an integrated offering allows developers to make more productive use of the Eclipse platform, and is a perfect example of our vision in action."
"This is an example of two products, developed on the open source framework or using the open source plug-in model, coming together to do exactly what the Eclipse community wanted its members to do," Anders added. "Because of Eclipse, this was such an easy integration. The most work we had to do involved reconciling the licensing."
Both CodeGear and Instantiations will be exhibiting at the EclipseCon event. For more information about the upcoming release of JBuilder 2008, go here.
John K. Waters is a freelance journalist and author based in Palo Alto, CA.