Java 2EE and XML Development

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Development tools

If you are dev
eloping in a Windows environment, the decision concerning the use of an IDE should be based on several criteria. First, is there an IDE that integrates well with your chosen J2EE server? What will it buy you in terms of

Getting started

automating deployment tasks? Second, does your team share expertise in a particular IDE already? Third, are you doing any thick-client development that requires a visual environment? The answers to these questions should point you in the direction of a particular IDE.

Three of the most common commercial IDEs used on J2EE projects are WebGain Studio (which includes Visual Caf), Borland’s JBuilder, and IBM’s Visual Age. WebGain Studio is a complete J2EE development environment that integrates best with BEA System’s WebLogic application server. Visual Age is the obvious choice for development on IBM’s WebSphere platform. If you have already decided on a commercial J2EE vendor, the best IDE to use is usually quite obvious. If you are using an open source server like JBoss or Enhydra, the most important feature of an IDE may be its ability to integrate with the Ant build tool described in the next section. Ant integration is currently available for Visual Age, JBuilder, and the NetBeansopen source IDE.

Build tools

Whether or not you choose to use an IDE, your project is likely to benefit from an automated build utility. Deploying J2EE components into their run-time environment involves compiling the components and their related classes, creating deployment descriptors, and packaging the components into JAR, WAR, or EAR files. All these files must have very specific structures and contents and be placed in a location accessible to the server. This whole packaging and deployment process is a complicated configuration task that lends itself to the use of a build tool. The build tool can be configured once and automate the build and deployment process for the lifetime of the component(s).

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