Moving Toward the Mega-IDEs
Tool makers offer their support, but will everyone want them?
By Jennifer deJong
September 15, 2004 —
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Another impediment to using the huge frameworks is that they are slow to launch, said Bob Bradley, vice president of sales and business development at SlickEdit Inc. "Sometimes developers just want to open a file and make a quick edit."
He also noted the lack of support for scripting languages, widely used by developers. "If you want to open a Python or Perl file in Eclipse, you can't do that." The company sells SlickEdit Studio, a code editor and IDE for C, C++, Java and other languages, and also offers a plug-in for Eclipse. It doesn't offer a SlickEdit plug-in for Visual Studio. "But our tool supports editing in the [Common Language Runtime]," said Bradley. "The big guys are doing these environments, and we'll be there in some form or fashion."
'Separation of Concerns'If they are to succeed, Atlantic and Team System will require programmers and others involved in the development process to work in new ways. "It's really a process, communication and collaboration question," said Empirix's Fernandes. Companies have been trying to integrate development and QA efforts for some time, he said. "But in truth, [the two efforts] are still very siloed."
Bringing nondevelopers, such as QA professionals, into the application development process is essential, said John Michelson, CEO of iTKO Corp., which sells a testing tool for J2EE applications. If nondevelopers don't participate, there will never be quality software, he said. IBM and Microsoft claims aside, he believes that Atlantic and Team System will be too developer-centric to appeal to QA professionals and other nonprogrammers.
ILOG's view is similar. The company's tool for managing business rules requires input from both developers and business line managers who own the policies implemented in the software. The mega-IDEs can't address the needs of both parties, said Bowers. "We see it as a separation of concerns," he said. ILOG sells a rules engine for Java and supports Eclipse.
Later this year, it will unveil a rules engine for .NET developers, integrated with Visual Studio, as well as with Microsoft Word and SharePoint, which business professionals prefer to use, he said.
Going Too Far?Although it's too soon to tell whether the mega-IDEs will become the preferred way of working, there is such a thing as going too far, said Parasoft's Kolawa. "IBM contacted me and asked us to integrate the .NET version of our testing tool in Eclipse. I said: 'What for? Do you think anyone wants to de velop .NET under Eclipse?'"