Dueling Conferences For Eclipse, Microsoft

At the latter event in Santa Clara, Calif., Salesforce.com plans to announce its Eclipse membership and release an Eclipse toolkit for developing applications for deployment on its AppExchange network of third-party add-ons to Salesforce.com CRM.

Meanwhile, Sun Microsystems continues to pursue its own NetBeans IDE strategy and remain an Eclipse holdout but appears to be thawing—a bit. Sun’s Java tools director, Tim Cramer, will participate in an EclipseCon session with ISV Genuitec, which has incorporated Sun’s Java GUI builder Matisse into its MyEclipse Java IDE. The marriage of technologies from Eclipse and NetBeans is one developers have coveted, and Sun approves of the union.

“This is how open source works,” Cramer said. “We’re excited that [Java GUI] development will be available in Eclipse. It’s good for the Java community in general.”

Microsoft counterprogrammed EclipseCon with its first conference aimed at Web developers since the late 1990s. The company is readying new tools and products, many timed to coincide with its scheduled Windows Vista release later this year. The pipeline includes Internet Explorer 7; the Atlas framework, Microsoft’s toolset for building AJAX-like functionality in applications; and the Expression Web tools.

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Microsoft plans to show how Web development firms such as Avenue A/Razorfish, Fluid and REZN8 use its technology.

Microsoft will address the Web 2.0 idea that development is moving away from the desktop and toward flexible, collaborative Web software delivered as a service.

“The Visual Studio.Net framework is so folded into Office 2007 and other Microsoft futures that it’s a competitive advantage for us to stick with that,” said Ken Winell, CTO of Vis.align, King of Prussia, Pa.

Others argue that the Eclipse route avoids vendor lock-in.

“We use Eclipse as our IDE. We need to be J2EE-enabled to be cross-platform,” said Michael Sherman, CTO of Atlanta-based Viewlocity.

BARBARA DARROW contributed to this story.