Tuesday, ten of the leading Java vendors announced the creation of The Java Tool Community. The founding members making the announcement were BEA Systems, Compuware, Embarcadero Technologies, Iopsis Software, JetBrains, Oracle Corp., Quest Software, SAP AG, SAS and Sun Microsystems. This group is hoping that other vendors, developers, and users join the community. Participation is open and can be done at various levels.
The goal of this group is to promote "toolability" among the Java Community. Toolability is a measurement of how easy it is to build tools around a particular standard or technology. The founding members discovered that many tool vendors, for lack of early access to standards, would build proprietary solutions for various problems. By the time the tool was introduced, the Java Community Process had standardized a technology such as an API to solve the same problem. As a result some developers were using tools that were not adhering to Java standards. Until now, tool vendors have been spinning their wheels in creating solutions that the JCP is already working on. The JTC hopes that the formation of this community will give tool vendors early awareness and involvement in the standardization process.
"The JTC is something that the Java community really needs," said Mark Driver, research vice president, Gartner Group. "A forum where customers and vendors can work together to advance Java tools standards will help produce a much higher-quality set of development environments while further unifying the Java tools community."
The JTC will work with the JCP to maximize standards, increase interoperability, and facilitate communication. The JTC plans to initiate JSRs, provide expert group liaisons, and offer a user and vendor voice from the tool community. The JCP supports the creation of this specialized group.
With many new formations and announcements comes a little controversy. IBM, Borland, and Eclipse are currently not involved in The Java Tool Community. While the JTC, where some board member also sit on the Eclipse board, does not foresee competition between the two groups since neither are standards organizations. As in the past, the Java Community Process will continue to see all standards for the Java Community.
For more information on The Java Tool Community and how to participate go to www.javatools.org.