Symantec Releases Visual Cafe for the Enterprise

While some developers are still producing tools that use remote debugging, a feature that allows administrators to fix problems on individual operating systems from one machine, Symantec Corp. (Cupertino, Calif., released Visual Cafe for Java, Enterprise Suite, which uses distributed debugging. This new feature allows administrators to fix all the bugs together, once, without having to access each individual machine.

Seth Cohen, product manager for Visual Cafe for Java, Enterprise Suite, says this product isn’t just an add-on to the old Visual Cafe for Symantec, but a change in the corporate focus to become more enterprise-oriented. He claims that this enterprise RAD technology makes developing and testing distributed applications as easy as developing software for one machine.

Enterprise Suite also provides test and deployment platform independence, so that developers can write Java applications and deploy them to virtually any application server. Developers can manage debugging across multiple platforms, including IBM AIX, HP-UX, Sun Solaris and Windows NT. The product also allows full interoperability between different applications, without regard for the language in which their logic or objects are written, whether it’s Java, C++ or COBOL.

To achieve this platform independence, Visual Cafe for Java, Enterprise Suite, is based on an open platform that supports a variety of middle-tier application servers and Object Request Brokers for deploying distributed applications.

Frank Caloiaro, a software engineer at Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield (Camp Hill, Pa.), says that his group has to deal with five different companies, all using different databases, so he believes Java was his only choice. "We did a tools study and decided corporately on Visual Cafe," he says.

Caloiaro added that his company uses Solaris boxes because Windows NT wasn’t "scaleable enough" for the 6,000 doctors dialing in on their systems.

Visual Cafe, Enterprise Edition, allows developers to create complex Java applications with a drag-and-drop environment. Other tools include wizards, class browsers, and an interaction editor that lets developers create JavaBeans.

Anne Thomas, senior consultant for the Patricia Seybold Group (Boston), says the distributed debugging feature of Visual Cafe is exactly what is so attractive. "I’m very pleased that they’re starting to develop these kinds of tools," says Thomas. "This new version is built specifically for the server side."