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Future of Commercial Java IDEs

7 replies on 1 page. Most recent reply: Apr 18, 2007 8:22 AM by rakesh vashisht

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Rahul Chaudhary

Posts: 10
Nickname: javaguru
Registered: Jan, 2003

Future of Commercial Java IDEs (View in Weblogs)
Posted: Feb 9, 2006 11:59 PM
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Summary
What is the future of commercial Java IDEs?
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Commercial Java IDEs have had good run in the beginning years of Java. But last few years have been tough for them because of quality open source alternatives such as Eclipse, NetBeans and others.

In November of last year Sun started offering its enterprise IDE for free and now there is a news that Borland wants to sell its IDE product lines, which includes JBuilder in addition to other tools. Now a days, it is very tough for a commercial vendor to survive in the IDE market where there are excellent open source IDEs available.

In my opinion, most of the commercial Java IDE vendors have following choices left

  • Sell their business – Of course, somebody should be willing to buy that business.

  • Open source their tools and try to make money through support, consulting and training.

  • Go out of business.

Jordan Zimmerman

Posts: 23
Nickname: jordanz
Registered: Jul, 2003

Re: Future of Commercial Java IDEs Posted: Feb 10, 2006 1:12 PM
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Well, Borland is selling their business...

But, IntelliJ IDEA seems to be doing well. I (and our entire team) use it. I don't mind paying for something that is good. I've tried the free ones and they pale compared to IDEA.

Frank Sommers

Posts: 2642
Nickname: fsommers
Registered: Jan, 2002

Re: Future of Commercial Java IDEs Posted: Feb 11, 2006 1:24 AM
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I think there's a lot of myth about how open-source and free software uproots businesses providing similar payware. Of course, the keyword here is "similar." And open-source IDEs are different from their payware cousins in at least one respect.

I found that many open-source IDE projects must, by their very nature, be inclusive and provide a more or less general-purpose platform that facilitates contributions from a wider community. A closed-source vendor, however, need be concerned much less with a codebase that lots of people can understand and work with, and can instead focus development efforts on features.

There will always be customers willing to pay a reasonable fee for those features, and even for support. I think it was Scott McNealy who once said that open-source software is free as a puppy is free. There are folks who have real deadlines and financial pressures to get stuff done, and those folks will support a vendor that helps meet those needs with features and a smooth experience.

IntelliJ is a great example of that. I don't know how those guys (or girls) do this, but they best every IDE I have ever tried, and that includes about every Java IDE from the latest Netbeans and Eclipse to the Emacs Java module. I am personally happy to pay a reasonable fee for their product because it saves me time by making me more productive. And that time, in turn, translates back into money.

Perhaps a similar principle applies in other areas of software as well. No matter how much people think Microsoft is a monopolist, most people use their products because those products more or less work as advertised. I personally prefer to use Linux for my daily work (and used Solaris before that), but I shudder at the thought of how many hours I wasted trying various pieces of my laptop to work with Linux. When I boot into Windows, on the other hand, the entire laptop works instantly - wireless, I can hibernate the machine, etc. Is that convenience worth the $150 for the price of Windows? You bet.

I just don't see open-source and "free" software replacing commercial vendors with truly outstanding products. If anything, I see commercial vendors benefiting, because they can incorporate much open-source stuff for free into their warez, and then charge for the convenience of having the whole package work well.

What open-source software is replacing is crappy payware. And for that, we should all be thankful.

eric friedman

Posts: 3
Nickname: efried
Registered: Feb, 2006

Re: Future of Commercial Java IDEs Posted: Feb 12, 2006 10:51 PM
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I agree with you to a large extent but I do think there is a market for good IDEs. I think Borland killed their IDE market with their pricing. I used to be a JBuilder user. It was a great IDE. But it became unaffordable for all but corporate developers.

I use Intellij Idea and I choose to pay for it. It is (I think) a better product. It's not free but it's a good value. Vendors that produce products of that quality will be able to compete.

Bob Beerbower

Posts: 5
Nickname: bob5820
Registered: Feb, 2006

Re: Future of Commercial Java IDEs Posted: Feb 16, 2006 5:38 PM
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To quote Frank in part...
> There will always be customers willing to pay a reasonable
> fee for those features, and even for support.
>
> I am personally happy to pay a reasonable fee for
> their product because it saves me time by making me more
> productive. And that time, in turn, translates back into
> money.

I think that the secret here, and hopefully one that IntelliJ understands better then Microsoft, is that many of us are willing to pay for useful, well thought out features. One of the biggest problems I see with some commercial software is the incessant need to add features just to give your user base a reason to upgrade. Quality features can deffinetly enhance the users experience, while quantity features usually just make the software harder to use.

Vincent O'Sullivan

Posts: 724
Nickname: vincent
Registered: Nov, 2002

Re: Future of Commercial Java IDEs Posted: Feb 17, 2006 6:44 AM
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> One of the biggest problems I see with some
> commercial software is the incessant need to add features
> just to give your user base a reason to upgrade.

The idea that adding features to a product is just a ploy to pull in gullible users is both a lazy conspiracy theory and an expression of disrespect for others by implying they're incapable of making up their own minds.

The truth is that if you don't improve your product then the competition will improve theirs. Standing still is just not a long term option. Remember Lotus 1-2-3? No, me neither. This isn't a commercial consideration either. The open source world is littered with products that had a enthusiastic user base but died when the authors lost interest in the product.

eric friedman

Posts: 3
Nickname: efried
Registered: Feb, 2006

Re: Future of Commercial Java IDEs Posted: Feb 19, 2006 10:39 PM
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If I had read the postings before I made one last week, I wouldn't have bothered. Interesting that most of the posts mentioned Intellij.

rakesh vashisht

Posts: 2
Nickname: rakeshvash
Registered: Apr, 2007

Re: Future of Commercial Java IDEs Posted: Apr 18, 2007 8:22 AM
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The future of IDE is growing day by day. They help us in minmizing the stuff related to so many thing during product development.

But one thing which i must bring into the notice is that they posse a danger to the begineers.

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