Gartner Research

Integrated Development Environments: Swiss Army Knives for the Enterprise

Published: 18 January 2007

ID: G00203249

Analyst(s): Joe Niski


Integrated development environments (IDEs) are like Swiss Army knives: They include tools for nearly every software development task. Like a Swiss Army knife, an IDE may be adequate in some circumstances. However, a well-stocked toolbox is needed to handle the full range of enterprise development challenges. In this Application Platform Strategies overview, Analyst Joe Niski describes the range of features in contemporary IDEs; examines the current IDE markets for Java Platform, Enterprise Edition and .NET; and outlines considerations in selecting IDEs and stand-alone tools.

Table Of Contents



  • IDEs Simplify Software Development
    • Complexity Remains the Challenge
  • What Is an Enterprise IDE?
    • Value Proposition: Team Productivity
  • Evaluating the Value Proposition
    • Feature Matrices
    • Integrated and Good Enough vs. Best of Breed
    • Vertical Integration: Promise vs. Reality
    • Tools Are Not Processes
    • Configurability vs. Standardization
    • What Happened to Simplicity?
  • Enterprise IDEs and SOA
  • Market Overview
    • .NET and Visual Studio: Vendor Lock-In and Ecosystem
    • Java EE, NetBeans, and Eclipse: Tools as Commodities
  • Recommendations
    • Embrace Diversity
    • Balance Integration with Specialization
    • Focus on Process and Governance
    • Standardize IDE Configuration
    • Plan for Support
    • For Java EE, Consider an Open Source IDE
    • For .NET, Plan to Extend VSTS

The Details

  • Opening the Swiss Army Knife
    • Not for Programmers Only
    • Tools for Every Tier
    • Support for the SDLC
    • Efficiency Through Abstraction
    • Extensibility
    • Configurability
    • Vertical Integration
  • Enterprise IDE Snapshots
    • BEA Workshop
    • CodeGear (Formerly Borland Software) JBuilder
    • Compuware OptimalJ
    • Eclipse
    • IBM RSDP
    • Microsoft Visual Studio
    • NetBeans
    • Oracle JDeveloper 10
    • Sun Java Studio



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