For most of this year I’ve been using WSAD as my Java IDE . Using it has been nice, but I’ve never felt that the feature set justified its rather hefty price tag.
The main features I think WSAD has going for it are:
- Integrated Server ‘Test Environments’.
- A powerful JSP editor / debugger.
- Database integration.
I knew that the Eclipse foundation had a webtools project on the way, but I didn’t know just how much IBM had decided to contribute. You want integrated test environments? You get them with the J2EE tools . How about a decent JSP editor, including refactoring support? Structured Source Editing gives it to you. Good database integration? Data Tools.
Given that all this great software is now available for free with eclipse, I’m left wondering what IBM’s sales pitch for WSAD will be. Large licensing costs and yearly support fees are hard enough to justify for an IDE, but when you can get most of the features for free… I’m glad I don’t have to make that pitch.
My hunch is that they’ll move to emphasise two different angles. Host Development and Integration & ease of use.
Firstly, IBM’s bread and butter, the Mainframe. I’d look for them to really start pushing the zOS integration, COBOL development & easy JCA support. Host developers have been crying out for a decent development environment, and with a bit of polishing, the features in WSAD-IE may justify the price. Hey, anything beats a reflection terminal right? I’ve never done any JCA development, but ‘transparent’ Java integration to CICS/COBOL services could be a killer features in the banking industry.
Second, ease of use. WSAD-IE’s Java Server Faces support has all the ‘drag-n-drop’ & no-code features of Java Studio Creator, but with IBM’s standard ‘Everything Integrated’ angle. Buy WSAD, grab a copy of WAS & clearcase. Bingo, IBM has a competitor to Visual Studio 2005 right from source control, to development, to production deployment.
As far as I’m concerned, the Web Tools release has removed pretty much every reason I could possibly have for buying WSAD. I’ll try to write some more entries as I try it out. Watch out Netbeans, eclipse is coming.