February 10, 2006
JBuilder 2006 not end of line, says BorlandPosted 3274 days ago on February 10, 2006
With JBuilder now up for sale, anything could happen, but I've been taken to task by Borland's David Intersimone for saying that JBuilder 2006 is end-of-the-line:
JBuilder is not end-of-the-line - our Java IDE built on top of our PrimeTime framework was eotl. JBuilder built on top of the eclipse foundation is our next version - project codename Peloton...JBuilder has been built/rebuilt, over the years, on top of at least 5 different underlying foundations.
I do understand the distinction, and made it clear in my report at the time the Eclipse move was announced.
However, there are important differences between past JBuilder changes (eg from IDE built with Delphi to IDE built with Java) and this one. For a start, Eclipse is already a Java IDE. There are already features in the Eclipse JDT or other Eclipse projects which overlap with things that JBuilder does. This is going to make the transition to Eclipse more radical and difficult than previous changes. It's not clear to me the extent to which Peloton will enhance existing Eclipse projects, which risks alienation of existing JBuilder users, or to what extent it will provide alternatives, which risks alienation of existing Eclipse users and fragmentation of the Eclipse platform. I suspect more the former than the latter, which will likely mean that not every feature in the current JBuilder will be matched in Peloton.
Whatever it does, Peleton will have to add a lot of value if it is going to succeed. Developers will say, "I've already got Eclipse, why do I need Peloton?".
Futhermore, I doubt whether the new entity or acquiring company will be equally interested in both Java and Delphi. They are different platforms. It is near-impossible to prosper equally well in both. That suggests either a split (which Borland says it won't do, but I wouldn't bet against it), or else a focus on one platform at the expense of the other.
A year ago I commented that Borland is juggling with too many IDEs. It's still a problem. Why would a new IDE company want to invest in Eclipse? Alternatively, it might decide to build its business on Eclipse and to sideline Borland Developer Studio. Doing both with equal energy and success looks too much of a stretch.
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