IBM will announce Tuesday upgrades to WebSphere Development Studio -- improvements designed to make it easier for iSeries users to develop and deploy e-business applications regardless of the software platform.
The upgrades are a big deal for iSeries developers not only because of the vast improvement over other tools such as Visual Age for Java, but because they send a message to the iSeries community about IBM's commitment to the platform.
"The interesting thing," said Chris Dial, an analyst with the Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research, "is that IBM is executing on its commitment to coordinate its release cycles about the same time."
Last month, the company announced similar upgrades to WebSphere Development Studio for its other eServer platforms.
The refreshed set of WebSphere tools are built on Eclipse -- the open source-based platform for tool integration.
Eclipse was developed, with a huge investment from IBM, to simplify the process of developing software tools for multiple operating systems. According to IBM, Eclipse improves the integration of third-party application development tools from multiple vendors.
Eclipse "makes [development] a lot faster and a lot more stable," said Dial.
In May 2001, IBM announced WebSphere Development Studio, which consolidated all iSeries host and workstation tools into one product to make it easier for developers to adapt applications to the Web. Big Blue has sold 60,000 copies since then.
Now, IBM is taking those tools and moving them to an integrated development environment. Users of the current WebSphere Development Stuido will be able to upgrade free of charge if they have Software Subscription, said Dave Slater, World Wide Market Manager, iSeries Application Development at IBM.
Some of the tools included in WebSphere Development Studio are WebSphere Site Developer Advanced, WebSphere Application Developer, WebSphere Studio Application Developer for Java developers, WebSphere Studio Enterprise Developer and WebSphere Studio Application Developer for Linux.
An upgrade will be available for V5R1 in early July and for V5R2 on Aug. 16.