Friday, August 11, 2006

Programming: Beware of JBuilder!

From my days as a novice programmer, I've always had the JBuilder development environment in my toolset. I have developed some application entirely from the IDE, and still use it on my pet project Jaspora. I mainly use it to develop applets now, mainly because it is easier to package them, sign them, and include additional resources when deploying them.
However, I have noticed the following that may cause you headache:
  1. Avoid using the trial versions that shall expire in a month or so. If you forget to licence the version and return to use it after the trial period, it will not start at all. Such was my experience with Enterprise 2006. If I'm not misinformed, I think it was supposed to revert to Foundation after expiration, but none of my license files would work.
  2. Foundation 2005 requires a 1.4 JDK environment, although you can develop 1.5 JDK compliant applications with it. JVM conflicts intermittently caused the application to fail to start on my Windows Server 2003 Standard machine.
  3. Every so often, it may fail to start because jbuilder.config is missing, or cannot find certain classes such as com.borland.jbuilder.JBuilder. Very disappointing, especially if all you did was simply reboot. I have had to reinstall to regain functionality. So now I maintain a backup of the install folder and just restore when it fails to start.
  4. Their customer service sucks. When I called the 800 number, all I got was a beep and a recorded voice telling me to record my message at the beep. No introductions, no human, no menu, nothing.
Otherwise, it is a good tool. This is a warning for programmers to beware and use with caution. The good thing is that you will retain your project properties even after reinstallation. This one feature has saved my butt!

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