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Interview With Tony de la Lama, by David Johnson

JDJ: The latest version of JBuilder is being released today, so that's exciting news. Tony, why don't you go ahead and talk a little bit about what Borland is doing with JBuilder and also with Java.
de la Lama:
We're so excited about JBuilder 4, and this is a great place to really reveal it to the public for the first time. We have some interesting features that I think are really going to take JBuilder 4 to the next level for development of Java applications. For starters we have a new team development solution that's based on the CVS [Concurrent Versions System] repository. You're probably familiar with our heritage of having JBuilder run on Solaris, Linux, and Windows - all three platforms. We wanted something that would work and scale across the Internet and run across many different operating systems. The CVS-based repository we've chosen is fully integrated into the product. It's a very good technology - one of the main features we want to let people know about in JBuilder 4.

I also want to mention a couple of other features related to debugging. Some folks may not know that we have full JSP debugging with JBuilder 4. You can actually set a breakpoint in JSP when you get there, and view the variables. From there you can go ahead and jump off into an EJB that may be tagged in the JSP itself. It's an interesting environment for debugging.

We also have support for Servlet 2.2 and JSP 1.1 - the latest standards in both those specs - and on top of that, we now include Tomcat and Apache. If you look at JBuilder 4 as a whole package you now get at the enterprise level, you have Borland application server, which includes VisiBroker. You get a JSP runner, and a servlet runner, and Tomcat. So you have a really good environment that you can actually build right out of the box, debug, deploy locally, and test your EJBs. We're very excited about the success in this environment.

JDJ: Maybe you could talk a little more about the different features, wizards, code generation facilities in JBuilder, and what differentiates it from some of the competing products.
de la Lama:
We get what we call the EJB modeler to create container management persistence - EJB management persistence. By default we'll go ahead and create the whole EJB interface for you for the primary classes. That really saves you a lot of time. Also with the JBuilder 4 release we're going to be supporting WebLogic for the first time. So you'll be able to build EJBs, deploy them, run them, and debug them on the WebLogic server from BEA. So now we actually support two application servers out of the box - our own Borland application server and WebLogic. Also one of the features that customers are really excited about is the ability to deploy, or actually hot deploy, onto WebLogic. You'll be able to actually drop your EJB without having to restart the server, and it will pick up where it left off. It saves a lot of time in your development.

JDJ: Now with CVS, it's obviously something you can do over the Internet. Is that encrypted and secure?
de la Lama:
That's a good question. Just the other day I was working with a few of my developers. we were talking about an open-search project based on CVS and were kind of interested in taking a look at the code for this. So we fired up Jbuilder, pointed Jbuilder to create a project, then pointed it to the repository, put in the URL and the password, and within minutes we were downloading the project right inside JBuilder. Five minutes later, with one button, we were compiling the whole project. That was very cool, because there are so many different open-source projects out there based on CVS. I think it opens up a lot of new code relatively quickly from inside JBuilder.

JDJ: Right, the alternative is probably command line, which can be a little difficult with newer developers. Now I see the comments on open database support. What are some of the database features in JBuilder?
de la Lama:
We're especially proud of our database support inside JBuilder. Borland has a long heritage of building really solid development environments for database development, and we created something about three releases ago called dataexpress. It's a great framework to build your applications on top of. It'll insulate you from the rudimentary JDBC type of coding that most people have to do. So using dataexpress and the functionality it provides, we also give you something called JDatastore, and we're up to version 4, which is an all-Java database. It's a small footprint, fully object-relational database that allows you to build very solid applications locally. So we're really excited that we could include this functionality in our professional version as well as our enterprise version. And in the enterprise version you get the actual source code to our framework for dataexpress. It's a really solid value, we think, in database programming.

JDJ: I imagine that people can check out an evaluation copy of Jbuilder. Also, maybe you could talk about your web site and what's available there.
de la Lama:
We used to sell a version of JBuilder called JBuilder Standard. It cost $99 and would build a core function - editing, debugging, compiling, and project management use. But now we've come out with something called Foundation, which, we give away for free. So the CD that's distributed at our booth is actually a fully functional version of Jbuilder that does not expire and is not limited by classes. It just doesn't have the database and enterprise features of our professional and enterprise versions. It runs on Solaris, Linux, and Windows, and has some swing components included. It has a high performance compiler and other technology already in it. If you don't need anything more than that, just try Foundation and enjoy it - go out and have a good time and build your applications! If you need additional functionality, check out our Professional and Enterprise editions.

Author Bio
David Johnson is CEO of Verge Technologies Group, Inc., a Boulder, Colorado- based Enterprise Java consulting and hosting firm. He can be reached at [email protected] control.


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