Wednesday, March 19, 2008

SpringSource releases tool suite based on Eclipse Mylyn

SpringSource, the company behind the Spring Portfolio Java application platform, has announced its SpringSource Tool Suite, a Spring-specific developer tool set designed to reduce the complexity of enterprise Java development and maintenance.

Based on Eclipse Mylyn, SpringSource Tool Suite extends Mylyn's task focus, tool integration, and workflow streamlining to enterprise application development and is designed to relieve information overload for developers by identifying only the information relevant to the task at hand.

Targeted to both ends of the developer spectrum, the tool suite provides tool-guided assistance to newcomers to the Spring Framework, while providing seasoned experts with architecture review tools to ensure best practices and support tools for finding resolutions for incidents.

The tool suite builds on the success of Eclipse, Mylyn, and Spring IDE to simplify the large aggregation of tools used in complex applications.

While the SpringSource press releases glossed over many of the specifics of the tools suite, Charlie Babcock at Information Week did a little digging and found some nuggets:

Java developers frequently test their programs by running them and are notified of runtime errors, prompting them to search through thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of lines of code, to find the errors. With the SpringSource Tool Suite, they will be able to zero in on problematic code, with the relevant lines highlighted in a different color, said Christian Dupuis, SpringSource lead engineer on the SpringSource Tool Suite, in an interview. By mousing over the segment, the Tool Suite will consult a database of known problems and in some cases be able to recommend a solution.

In other news, SpringSource has joined the Eclipse Foundation and will assist in developing the Eclipse ecosystem.

Sybase releases iPhone enterprise email solution

Sybase has now released the iAnywhere solution for bringing enterprise emails to the Apple iPhone. We blogged on this just a few days ago.

Based on the reaction, Sybase will get a lot more evaluation for their mobile messaging solution, even though it's designed to work with most all mainstream smartphones.

And, my, oh, my, I just keep seeing more people with iPhones, just about everywhere I go this week in the Bay Area. I'm glad this is panning out as I expected a mere hour after the announcement of the iPhone's pending release.

Apple has finally found its toehold in the enterprise with iPhone. The only question is much of the rest of the Apple bandwagon gets dragged into the big business maw. I have to say, using Keynote to whip out a preso I'm giving this morning saved my butt. Trying to do it in Powerpoint would have made me miss the point.

Oh, and now Safari runs on Windows, faster than most, and comparable to FireFox 3.x.

Yep, despite the Microsoft-funded malarky from some quarters, Apple is pushing its envelope further than ever. Productivity wins after all?

Monday, March 17, 2008

EclipseCon debuts OSGi runtime offerings, common platform frees up developers from middleware drudgery

Tony Baer has a great rundown of the EclipseCon OSGI-based runtime Equinox news today. Extending the Eclipse community's unity to runtimes makes a ton of sense, given that developers can focus on the applications and business logic and become far less concerned with complex deployment issues. Write once, run anywhere?

Eclipse's component development plan, called CODA (Component Oriented Development and Assembly), hinges on Eclipse's Equinox, which is the foundation's OSGi-based runtime and a part of the new Eclipse Runtime project.

The best new benefits will come in the conjunction of the Eclipse tools and Equinox runtimes. For example, developers in a vertical industry niche can use the tools and runtimes together and via community synergies enjoy a "common platform for participation."

I've long been a complainer about the gulf between runtime and design time, with the clear need for better feedback between the two -- especially in the era of Agile and web services assembly. An Eclipse-Equinox ecology symmetry gets us on the way.

The arrival of OSGi-based runtimes also conjures up the ability to repackage middleware as OSGi bundles, sort of like the BEA microarchitectures, which would be most welcome in highly virtualized runtime stack environments. Are you going to need a full LAMP or Windows stack to support a service in an SOA? Why not build a SOA stack on top of Equinox? Check out Swordfish on this sort of thing.

I can see where the OSGi runtime stuff, open source ESB stuff and variety of SOA tools in general can come together in fruitful ways. Flexible custom stacks and SOA make great conceptual bedfellows. Optimized stacks on the fly?

There are also implications for the SaaS and cloud folks, whereby they can look to these flexible custom Equinox stacks to efficiently support their applications and services, be they in virtualized or traditional stacks. Custom build the apps from the ground up, for better performance, less waste, less integration headaches. Green, baby.

What's more, the whole mobile and MID space is a perfect target for OSGi runtime bundles, given that OSGi originated in the embedded space. Small, lightweight, and reliable -- works for me. Sprint is already an OSGi fan. I think we'll also see OSGi running closely with Android. And Android on the iPhone (someday) offers a very interesting future.

Who loses from a viral Equinox runtime community and uptake? Well, Microsoft and .NET offer similar values, but with less openness and choice. The Java community is entertaining some JSRs, numbers 291 and Sun's 277, that undergird new component models. Sun losing traction on 277 could mean a further loss of control over Java.

Winners could be IBM, because the Lotus Notes and associated groupware clients are already OSGi-based. Community development around Notes, et al -- nice fit, for sure. They ought to give all that Notes client stuff away under OSS licenses anyway, no?

Microsoft licenses Adobe Flash Lite, turns up heat under Apple and iPhone?

Look for Flash applications to be coming to more mobile devices near you, just not an iPhone. Adobe Systems announced today that Microsoft has licensed Adobe's Flash Lite software to enable Flash-compatible content in the Internet Explorer Mobile browser.

This will mean that people using those devices will be able to access the building avalanche of rich content available via Flash clients. Microsoft has also licensed Adobe Reader LE software, which will allow users to view email attachments and Web content in PDF format.

Maybe Microsoft really does get the benefits of open, for fun and profit ... or at least to take some oxygen from the market competition.

[UPDATE: Looks like Apple and Abode have been of a like mind on this. See Computerworld story.]

Microsoft will also make Flash Lite and Reader LE available to OEMs who license Windows Mobile software.

Flash Lite already runs on numerous devices, and Adobe estimates that over half a billion have already shipped with Flash capability. However, the latest news now puts more pressure on Apple, whose popular iPhone doesn't support Flash, something that has had the blogoshpere bubbling since the iPhone made its debut. The recent iPhone SDK did nothing to make Flash a feature either.

I mean, I don't get it. Apple will deal with Microsoft to bring Exchange to iPhone, but resists Flash content. I know Apple has been a persnickety partner, but this is not necessarily putting the customer first.

Last July, Walt Mossberg went out on a limb and predicted that iPhones would see Flash "within the next couple of months."

Chris Zeigler at the Endgadget Mobile blog refers to the "spat" between Apple and Adobe as being part of a Goldilocks syndrome. Last week, he quoted part of Steve Jobs' remarks at a recent shareholders meeting:

Basically, Steve doesn't like Flash Lite -- the pared-down version Adobe has designed for small screens and lightweight processors -- and the full-fledged version has too much bloat for the iPhone's resources.

Whether Jobs is right remains to be seen, but the half billion devices that already use Flash technology may put a few holes in his argument. It would seem that Apple is in kind of a bind. The early adopters and gadget geeks have all gotten their iPhones, and now competitors are lining up with similar products, some coming in at a much lower price than the iPhone.

Later adopters, and even some gadget geeks, may place less value on novelty and slick features, and pay more attention to the rich media experience they're already used to on desktops and laptops. A lot of smart phones and PDAs already use Windows Mobile. Adding Flash to those would create a lot of pressure in the market.