On 10th December 2007, JBoss Division of Red Hat announced JBoss Developer Studio, it's first fully Integrated Development Environment. To find out more about what this announcement means, and JBoss developer strategy we caught up to Sacha Labourey, GM and CTO of the JBoss Division of Red hat. Here's what he had to say.
Bob Sacha, what's this announcement all about?
Sacha This is a major step in our tooling strategy. A few months back, we announced our partnership with Exadel whereby we would open source "Exadel Studio Pro", the best IDE for JBoss development, and merge its feature set with our own offering (JBoss IDE, Hibernate IDE, etc.) That work is now done and the result is this first release of "JBoss Developer Studio" (JBDS).
JBoss Developer Studio contains everything you need for JBoss development and deployment, fast EJB3, Seam and Web2.0 development, etc. It is really an amazing product.
While you can freely get all of these open Source plugins, what we have also done is released all of them in an easy-to-consume package that we sell as part of a subscription for $99. For that price, you not only get access to JBDS, but you also get access to our Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Essentially, for that price, you get everything you need to develop enterprise-grade applications, from the OS to a full EE-certified Application Server and complete tooling suite - we do not provide a laptop though
Bob Strategically, why would JBoss need an IDE? How does this fit into the rest of the JBoss product family?
Sacha In our early days, very few users asked us about a complete tooling suite. As we crossed the chasm, a growing number of customers asked us about it and that is what we decided to do through our Exadel partnership: to provide what our customer base was asking for. But make no mistake, JBoss will keep providing the easy-to-use developer-centric features that made its early success. We are adding value here, not trading it.
Bob What's included? And in what ways is JBDS significantly different from some of the other Java IDEs out there?
Sacha JBDS not only includes features for generic EE development, but it is perfectly in-sync with EAP 4.2 and provides advanced development features. It also tightly integrates with features like Seam, Ajax4JSF, RichFaces (with a great JSF visual editor). It also features exploded deployment for fast turnaround times during development, jBPM support, TestNG and Spring IDE.
Really, if you are a JBoss developer, JBDS is what you want to use, there is no discussion about it.
Bob On what OS can you use JBDS?
Sacha At this point, you can run JBDS on Windows and Linux. While it actually also runs on Mac OS X, we don't have an installer ready for it yet, this is a work in progress but shouldn't take too long.
Bob Eclipse Foundation has been elected on the SE Executive Committee of the Java Community Process (JCP). There have been moves into the runtime space with EclipseLink and Swordfish. I believe you've blogged about this. Why does that bother you?
Sacha In short, I don't think this should be the role of the Eclipse Foundation and I think this change is being led by very few vendors, that aim at hijacking the Eclipse Foundation to drive their own agenda. Eclipse was never intended to be a server-side runtime Foundation, there is a loyalty issue at hand here towards its early members.
Bob How about NetBeans? Any plans there you can talk about?
Sacha A few years back, when we started developing JBoss IDE, we opted for Eclipse, which was the clear leader at that time. Since then, NetBeans has done great progress and has become an excellent IDE. However, this cannot change our commitment for Eclipse. Much like all vendors, we don't have the luxury to develop a tooling strategy on multiple IDE platforms (Eclipse, NetBeans and Intellij): we had to make a choice and this choice is Eclipse.
Bob So JBDS was originally announced to be out during the Summer. Why was was it delayed for so long?
Sacha Open Sourcing a codebase is not an easy task. Many verifications have to be done and we usually also take that opportunity to perform the most obvious refactoring tasks. We also wanted to map JBDS build/QA/etc. environment to the JBoss typical environment so that we can better scale and be ready for all of the things we want to provide as part of JBDS in the future.
Considering all of the work that has been done by the JBDS team, I think we did great.
Bob Why would a developer want to pay for this when the downloads are available at JB.org for free? What do they actually get for their $99 bucks?
Sacha It is true that all of the codebase and plugins are available in Open Source and for free. However, as part of JBDS they actually get all of the ex-Exadel plugins as well as the ex-JBoss IDE plugins in a single unified and QAed environment. That's a lot of work you don't have to do yourself. Also, the JBDS subscription provides access to the EAP 4.2 and RHEL binaries. Essentially, for $99 you get a complete development environment, down from the OS up to the tools.
Bob Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Sacha Yes, this is a very important milestone for the JBoss division as part of the platform strategy we have outlined at the beginning of 2007. As communicated back then, we are moving away from "a list of projects" to a clearly defined list of platforms. The first of these platforms, the Enterprise Application Platform (EAP), has been released this summer and the next platform, the SOA Platform (featuring our ESB, the JBoss Drools engine, jBPM, etc.) will be released in a few weeks.
JBDS provides a great unification layer for these various platforms at the tooling level, much like JBoss ON unifies our offering at the management offering and Seam at the programming level. This is really a 3-legs unification strategy: tooling, management and API.
And stay tuned, 2008 is going to be a very exciting year!
Bob Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.