Compuware Finds F1000 Seeking to Cut Java Complexity

Compuware's latest experience with F1000 firms shows that their dev execs are concerned with Java's growing complexity, especially as Java projects dovetail with web services and legacy integration projects. See how Compuware is bundling in modeling and integration-savvy features into its latest tools to help enterprises speed their projects.

Tags: Developers, Java, J2EE, Modeling, Enterprise, EDS, Architects,

Compuware's latest Java tools upgrade reflects a growing concern from their enterprise customers that Java developers need more and better skills in the areas of security and J2EE integration with non-Java assets.

Further, Compuware's experience with F1000 companies shows that as Java projects begin to dovetail with web services and legacy integration work, there is a growing willingness for enterprise architects and hands-on developers to use modeling and other abstraction technologies to speed their projects.

"[T]he biggest J2EE challenge [is] productivity with limited resources. As more and more of our customers realize they need some form of automation to close the J2EE skills gap, we are seeing MDPB development mature past the early adoption phase," said Dan Schoenbaum, Compuware Vice President of Strategy.

"We're seeing a demand from CIOs and architects that Java developers bring to their projects a whole new level of skills," Michael Sawicki, OptimalJ product manager told IDN.

Driven by these end user concerns, Sawicki said company engineers have added several key integration-driven features to the latest upgrade to Compuware's OptimalJ Java tools (version 3.1). These include:

  • Native WS-Security Support -- which allows devs to support OASIS' WS-Security standards (as proposed by IBM, Microsoft and other Java and non-Java vendors) to better enable developers to secure their web services objects/applications.
  • Extended Flexible Modeling -- to enable devs to integrate their code with leading Java modeling tools, as the upgrade now works with IBM Rational Rose, Borland Together Control Center, SparxSystems Enterprise Architect and Objecteering, as well as vendor-neutral UML modeling (as outlined by the Object Management Group); and
  • Latest Legacy Modernization -- to empower devs to deploy and test code projects that need to be tied in with legacy Java and even mainframe software. Core support now integrated within OptimalJ 3.1 includes IBM's Java-based message queue (Websphere MQ), as well as leading J2EE app servers, including IBM Websphere and BEA Weblogic.

    Skills Ramp-Up from Modeling, Abstraction
    Even as OptimalJ adds all these new web services/integration-driven features, Sawiki said that it is Compuware's attention to native model-driven patterns technologies that will keep the ramp-up time for Java developers short.

    "There are many resources that exist in today's enterprise that Java developers just don't have the knowledge or the skills to quickly access," Sawicki said,"and we believe that our way of getting at those assets and modeling them for the developer will help reduce the complexity of certain projects."

    In OptimalJ 3.1 for instance, Sawicki said the product adds a new, more intuitive GUI to speed access to complex Java APIs, and even a facility that will import and copy aspects of a legacy COBOL copy book and put that code into syntax that Java developers can understand and lookup.

    Folks at GartnerGroup agree that Java development has become too complex and time-consuming for many Java developers, and seem to like the direction Compuware is going

    Gartner, EDS Find Merits in Modeling
    "As J2EE application development continues to mature, model-driven development with architecture-based code generation will become as prevalent as traditional enterprise fourth-generation languages were in the 1990s," said Michael Blechar, Vice President and Research Director of Gartner, in a prepared statement "As development organizations search for better, more productive, ways to design integrated applications that support new and traditional business initiatives, model-driven development will find its way into the hands of most development organizations."

    Gartner released a study last summer that found in part: "Some 75 percent of most large-scale Java projects fail by missing both time and budget projections." Without a change in how complex, enterprise-wide Java/J2EE apps are built, things could even get worse.

    Similarly, EDS found the current state Java/J2EE was inefficient for more complex Java-driven integration and web services projects. In a reference test, EDS looked at the amount of code needed to manually write the Java Pet Store (reference application) using J2EE versus .NET.

    The results were somewhat eye-popping, with J2EE being 4 times more code-inefficient that .NET. Final tally on total lines of code: J2EE 14,273 vs .NET 3,484.

    Beyond the Java-vs-.NET approach, EDS also looked at whether modeling and/or other abstraction techniques could mprove Java efficiencies. They found reasons for hope. EDS found OptimalJ's approach made up for many J2EE inefficiencies and reduced to 1/20th the number of J2EE lines of code needed for the same project. Final tally with OptimalJ's modeling: 610 lines of code.

    EDS also undertook a project to find out how long it would take to migrate from an EJB 1.1 based application to EJB 2.0 (again, using the Java Pet Store). EDS noted that most developers might measure such an upgrade in months. Using OptimalJ's modeling-based approach, the upgrade took less than one hour.

    OptimalJ 3.1 is available now in three editions: The Developer Edition, priced at $800, enables developers to focus on business logic and code customization. The Professional Edition, priced at $5,000, allows software analysts and designers to map business requirements and models. An Architecture Edition, costing $10,000 per named developer, allows software architects to enforce standards and best practices and implement frameworks.