Insights on Borland
Borland is a company that continues to change and evolve. It also is a company that doesn't seem to have chosen a side in the programming languages war. Rather, it has its own language tools and it supports the other key languages. Its Delphi product continues to have a loyal following. Its JBuilder product is one of several products that support the Java world. And most recently, its release of C#Builder has landed it in the center of the .NET world. It has even bridged a section of the language war with its Janeva product.
This year marks the 20th anniversary for Borland. As a company, it has come a long way in that 20 years. The company originally built databases, development tools, and other products. It was a company primarily developing products for developers. In the last 10 years, I believe that Borland has seen the most change. For a while, it seemed to have lost direction and the leaders seemed to forget the company's real name. A few years ago, the name was changed to Inprise and the focus switched to the middle tier. Fortunately, the name is back and so seems the focus.
In the "old days," the important tool was a good compiler and a good editor. Many developers used an editor and a compiler. These were two different tools. Editors included products such as MultiEdit, Brief, and even the DOS edit program. As time evolved, so did the editors. Companies such as Borland and Microsoft released editors that also included a compiler. Using Microsoft's C++ compiler (before Visual C++), or the Borland tools such as Turbo C++ or Borland C++ (which were the industry leaders in the late 80's and early 90's), you could use an editor that had the compiler integrated into it. Debuggers and other testing tools have also evolved into the editors, which become integrated development environments. More recently, developers tool have also included design tools for doing modeling as well as the integration of database access tools. Tools for doing optimization, testing, source control and source collaboration, and many other features and processes have also evolved into the tools used by developers. While these tools all use to be separate, the tighter integration helps to provide synergy into the overall process of building business solutions (applications).
It should come as no surprise that additional synergies can still be gained by continuing the integration of the different tools from the different stages of the development lifecycle. This is one of the key realizations that the people at Borland have come to. It is also pivotal to the focus they have taken at Borland—the focus of delivering to the full application lifecycle. They are working towards providing the complete set of tools for managing the full application life cycle.
Adding to its existing set of products, Borland has acquired a number of other products that will help it build an Integrated LifeCycle Environment (ILE). This includes Together, which can be used in the design states of product development. CaliberRM was also acquired. It helps in the gathering and management of project requirements. A third product is Star Team, which is focused on collaboration and versioning. On the back end, Optimizeit Profiler helps with the optimization of code and application performance.
All of these products add to the existing line of Borland products in fitting the needs of today's businesses. While Borland has built great tools in the past, it has now shown a willingness to acquire a technology if it fits its needs. The results are shown in Figure 1—Borland is well on its way to building an ILE.
Figure 1—Application Lifecycle Management.