WebSphere Studio for Developing Web Applications

IBM's WebSphere Studio provides an integrated development environment

(IDE) for developing Java-language applications, especially server-side

applications. IBM recently made a preview, or pre-release, version

available for Linux developers that can be downloaded from http://www-

3.ibm.com/software/webservers/studio/preregister.html#wsadlp.

An IDE organizes your work in projects. IDEs typically include a text

editor, project management tools, a debugger, and tools to

automatically rebuild the project when you make changes. IDEs bundle

all these tools together into one integrated graphical environment. For

server-side applications, Java IDEs add tools to help create Java

Server Pages (JSPs), Java servlets, and Enterprise Java Beans (EJBs).

WebSphere Studio is now based on the same core as Eclipse -- a new free

IDE IBM plans to release as open source. Eclipse provides a framework

for plugging-in extra tools. In fact, Eclipse (http://www.eclipse.org)

defines all basic IDE functions as plug-in tools. For example, all the

support for java applications comes in the form of plug-ins, and you

can download an early version of a C++ plug-in as well.

To get around complaints about slow graphic performance in Java

applications, Eclipse uses SWT -- a custom windowing toolkit from IBM.

SWT improves performance by using native windowing system widgets.

Consequently, SWT is not as portable as Java's Swing graphic toolkit,

which is used for most Java applications. While Swing runs most

everywhere Java does, SWT for Eclipse is restricted to Linux and

Windows at this time.

SWT makes a big difference. Even with something as simple as pulling

down a menu, Java Swing applications tend to display a slight, but

noticeable, delay. This may not seem like much, but it interrupts your

chain of thought. SWT-based applications, like Eclipse, display a

snappy performance when pulling down menus.

WebSphere Studio and Eclipse aren't the only IDEs for Java development

on Linux, though. Borland's JBuilder runs on Linux and you can download

the low-end version for free at http://www.borland.com/jbuilder.

Sun's Forte is another IDE whose low-end version can be downloaded for

free from http://www.sun.com/forte/ffj. Sun also released Forte's

source code. A full version of this IDE, called NetBeans, can be

downloaded from http://www.netbeans.org. NetBeans is similar to Eclipse

in that NetBeans was designed to allow developers to plug-in new tools.

Two Java editors, jEdit (http://www.jedit.org) and Jext

(http://www.jext.org), offer IDE-like features as well.

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