It's a tough world out there. Being a Java developer is no
longer a guaranteed ticket to techie stardom. Skills that used
to be uncommon are now commonplace. How can this be?
Well, the answer boils down to tools. When Java first came
about, developers had to leap over tall buildings just to
create a simple application. Now that tools have progressed,
almost any reasonably competent Java developer can experience
a modicum of success.
What differentiates Java developers today from one another
is productivity. In this new world the most productive Java
developers are those earmarked for greatness. The rest are,
how should we say, not. While the Eclipse platform has
successfully brought Java development to the masses, aspiring
stars should seriously consider a more productive alternative.
For more information on Rational Application
Developer, visit IBM's RAD site.
IBM Rational tools fill this need. The IBM Rational
Software Development Platform is based on the solid foundation
Eclipse provides (after all, IBM did create Eclipse), and
layers on a raft of productivity-enhancing features that
quickly turn your efforts into results.
is, Eclipse is now the industry's leading Java IDE. IBM
created Eclipse years ago to establish a common tools platform
for Java developers. Eclipse provides standard user-navigation
and a common workbench that integrates tools from an
end-user's point of view—Eclipse's "plug-in" architecture
allows disparate tools to be integrated more easily.
While Eclipse is truly one of the greatest development tool
innovations in recent memory, it has limitations. For
- Eclipse is supported by a community of volunteer
developers. IBM Rational tools are backed by the resources
of IBM and offer standard channels for training, support,
- Eclipse is a source-level tool focused on the developer
role. IBM Rational tools, such as IBM Rational Application Developer and IBM Rational Software Architect, empower
developers with the productivity benefits of visual
construction and model-driven development.
- Eclipse provides a framework for tool integration, not a
set of integrated tools. The IBM Rational Software
Development Platform delivers a set of seamlessly integrated
applications that span the software development lifecycle.
Although Eclipse is an eminently useful
tool, IBM Rational is simply one step better to maximize the
productivity of any level of Java developer. While IBM
Rational Application Developer's list of differentiating
features goes on for pages, we only have space to cover a
handful of the most crucial distinctions.
Most importantly, IBM Rational Application Developer is a
visual programming tool. Sure, you could write tons of code
yourself, but why bother when wizards can do it for you? Yes,
point-and-click enterprise Java development is now a reality.
With IBM Rational Application Developer, you visually create
the site hierarchy, and then drag-and-drop elements onto the
page, including HTML, JSF and Struts elements, JSP tags, and
calls to JavaBeans.
Even for complex features, such as JSF, no coding is
required. Likewise, for the somewhat perplexing Struts
framework, IBM Rational Application Developer lets you
visually map and construct Model-View-Controller Web
applications with ease. Compare this to Eclipse, where you
have to be the wizard.
portals are just plain useful. That's why Java developers are
frequently asked to build them. Now, if you're using Eclipse
on its own, break out JSR 168 (the industry standard
specification for portlet aggregation, personalization,
presentation, and security) and start coding. IBM Rational
Application Developer users, on the other hand, have an
entirely different experience.
IBM Rational Application Developer includes visual portal
development tools and a unit test environment so you can build
and test individual portlets and entire portal applications.
New portlets are visually created using wizards which generate
portlets that comply with the IBM Portlet API, and those that
comply with JSR 168. And with IBM Rational Application
Developer's Portal Designer, you can visually create and edit
portal applications, and visually edit the themes and skins
that control their appearance.
enough to write code in Eclipse; the question is, how do you
efficiently test and deploy it? IBM Rational Application
Developer offers an integrated unit test environment that
supports testing and debugging local and server-side code on a
variety of application servers. You can create and configure
server instances using wizards, step-through applications, and
set breakpoints, and even modify the code under debug without
restarting the unit test server.
When it's time for deployment, you'll be happy to be an IBM
Rational Application Developer user. Eclipse users have to
manually assemble Java archive (JAR) and WAR files into an EAR
file for deployment. IBM Rational Application Developer saves
time by automating EAR assembly and generation of deployment
Modeling Language (UML) is gaining serious traction with Java
developers. IBM Rational Application Developer enables you to
graphically visualize and edit J2EE code and data objects
using industry-standard UML notation. This helps developers,
even those unfamiliar with UML, better understand and manage
IBM Rational Application Developer also provides powerful
visual editors so you can add UML class diagrams directly into
a Java or EJB project that automatically generate the
corresponding code. You can subsequently edit that code
directly or from within the UML class diagrams. And since the
visualization is derived dynamically, it is always
synchronized with the underlying code and you can re-factor
code by moving objects in the class diagram.
If you're really into modeling, IBM Rational Software
Architect is the tool for you. It includes all the features of
IBM Rational Application Developer, plus comprehensive support
for modeling and model-driven development, focusing on
service-oriented architecture, patterns-based development,
Model Driven Architecture, and static architectural analysis.
Time to Win
developer believes that free is good, the wise among us know
the ultimate measure of a tool is the productivity it offers.
Time is our most precious commodity and IBM Rational tools are
imbued with qualities that make the most of every working