Dick Wall had the opportunity to ask Dan Roberts, Director of Marketing, Developer Tools at Sun some questions concerning Java Studio Creator.
Creator Target Audience
Q. How would you describe the target audience for Creator? What are its aims and scope, and do you think you have succeeded in hitting that market?
A. The target audience for Java Studio Creator is corporate developers; it's a group we've defined as those who typically have used proprietary visual development tools, who are more interested in rapid application development vs. ultimate flexibility and who may not have significant experience developing applications either in Java or other languages. However, we've also found more senior Java developers have been very interested in using Creator for rapid client creation to their back-end systems, or application proto-typing because of Creator adherence to standards. The applications they build with Creator can be modified and reused easily outside of our development environment because it's just standard Java code.
How it Fits In
Q. How does Creator fit in to Sun's other Java development offerings? In particular what are its relationships to NetBeans, Java Studio Enterprise, Sun Java System App Server and J2EE as a whole?
A. Each of the developer tools Sun works to develop target a different type of developer, whether it's corporate developers with Java Studio Creator, enterprise developers with Java Studio Enterprise, or our support of the NetBeans open source project for developers looking for a complete Java IDE at no cost. We also use NetBeans as the base for our commercial tools offerings, both our Java Studio tools and the Sun Studio line of native tools (C/C++/FORTRAN) we build for our Solaris and Linux operating systems.
Sun also provides a complete application platform suite of products with the Java Enterprise System, and all of our developer tools target these runtimes, including the Sun Java System Application Server, out of the box. That said, because we do not use proprietary language extensions or runtime ties, the applications we develop with our tools are deployable to any J2EE-compatible runtime, including servers like WebLogic, JBoss, or Tomcat.
Q. I know that Creator is based around the NetBeans framework. Are there plans to bring more NetBeans features into Creator; in particular is it possible to use NetBeans plug-ins in Creator (I realize that not all NetBeans plug-ins make sense in the Creator space, but some do.) If it is not currently possible, are there any plans to bring NetBeans plug-ins to Creator?
A. The next version of Java Studio Creator, which will start rolling out in Early Access later this Summer, will be based on the latest NetBeans release allowing developers of plug-ins to more easily use their existing NetBeans or Sun Java Studio Enterprise plug-ins with Java Studio Creator or even create new ones. We've certainly recognized from the very beginning that building and ecosystem of partners and add-on modules to Java Studio Creator is very important to the growth of the tool.
With the first release, we worked with JavaServer Faces component vendors to help them build additional components that can be used and we look forward to being able to utilize more general module add-ons in the next release. We have an API released with the latest update, which component vendors can use for integrating their JavaServer Faces components and customizers more completely into Java Studio Creator.
And, we've recently submitted a new Java Specification Request (JSR) for a design time API for JavaBeans (JSR-273) to further make this process of creating reusable components in any Java tool easier for all tools and component builders.
Q. If I were an IT manager thinking about using Creator for a mission-critical project, what support options could you describe which would make my decision easier?
A. Java Studio Creator is sold as a Sun Developer Network (SDN) subscription, which includes support for developers to quickly and easily get their questions answered through a combination of monitored support forums, Web-based bug and request for enhancement submissions, tutorials, sample applications, and an extensive knowledge base repository for Frequently Asked Questions.
Additionally, Sun offers Developer Technical Support through our Services organization where experts in application development and our tools can work with your team to help you with everything from basic bug resolution to understand various development technologies and even architecture support.
Q. Sun says that it is paying close attention to customers in driving the features and development of Creator. Can you briefly describe how someone with a request or problem can quickly feed back information to Sun, and get confirmation that the feedback has been received and will be acted upon?
A. As part of the Sun Developer Network subscription, developers have access to two direct channels for offering feedback:
- Monitored support forums where Sun engineers and support professionals respond directly and look for feedback.
- Bugs and RFEs (Request for enhancements) can also be submitted directly via a Web-based form if more anonymity is desired. This form also has a 48-hour guaranteed response time.
How Important is Creator
Q. How important is the Creator product to Sun? Is this a product that customers can be assured Sun will aggressively and continuously improve over time?
A. Java Studio Creator is absolutely core to Sun's strategy to grow the number of developers using Sun technologies and developing to our platforms.
Editor's Note: Go to www.developer.com/java/ent/article.php/3563126 to read the conclusion of this interview.
About the Author
Dick Wall is a Lead Systems Engineer for NewEnergy Associates, A Siemens Company based in Atlanta, GA that provides energy IT and consulting solutions for decision support and energy operations. He can be reached for comment on this and other matters at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also co-hosts the Java Posse with Tor Norbye and Carl Quinn, a podcast devoted to Java News and Interviews, which can be found at http://javaposse.com.