The company formerly known as Borland Inprise, originally named Borland, has changed its name back to, you guessed it, Borland. Borland execs have come to Sydney to chat with partners and developers, explaining the rebranding and the return to profitability after a period of instability.
The company claims it returned to profitability by focusing its business on three key areas. The first is Java development, where Borland holds 40 per cent of the development environment market with the Jbuilder product. Chief executive officer Dale Fuller is confident the company will benefit from the estimated two million developers worldwide that will finish their education in the next two years and need a development environment that runs across several platforms.
The second area is Linux, where the company is planning a series of business applications, a market Fuller estimates as "gigantic". Finally, the company will continue to develop and implement application server software.
Among the speakers at the annual Borcon developer conference in Sydney was David Intersimone, vice president of developer relations at Borland, in town to capture some feedback from the Java development community.
Intersimone's role is to gain an insight into what issues developers are facing and take these ideas directly to the top of the Borland food chain, enabling CEO Fuller and COO Doug Barre to work the feedback into future product development.
"We take part in e-mail surveys and newsgroups and a lot of the usual ways to keep in contact with the development community, but there is nothing better than meeting developers face to face and having a conversation," Intersimone said. "So I do a lot of travel to talk to developers, but more importantly, to listen to developers. I ask them what problems they are trying to solve and take that back to be developed into future products."
Intersimone believes productivity and adherence to standards are the main issues developers are facing at present. He sees the development community straining under the competitive pressure of the Internet economy to deliver rapid results and sees Borland's role as the supplier of those tools necessary to keep up with the pace. He has received positive comment from most developers who appreciate that Borland tools can be used across a variety of operating systems.
"Developers don't want proprietary products shoved down their throats," he said. "Borland escapes that because it doesn't have a platform agenda."
He also sees the difficulties many developers face over design environments that try and take away elements of control over the source code when providing visual aids.
"For a lot of developers, the source code is important - you need access to all of it," he said. "Most developers live in both the design environment and the source code."
With object-oriented programming being the flavour of the past couple of decades, Intersimone believes the next step for development platforms is to create a method of reusing objects from existing projects for new applications.
"The road researchers are taking now is in identifying and getting more use out of objects," he said. "At the moment it's a manual process, but people are working on the specifications and tools to take out objects from existing projects, to put them in a resource library."