Sun Releases NetBeans 5.5, Expands Partner Program

Sun Microsystems on Monday released NetBeans 5.5, a major upgrade that brings support for Java Enterprise Edition 5, and expanded its NetBeans partner program, which adds a new "strategic partner"

October 31, 2006

2 Min Read
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Sun Microsystems on Monday released NetBeans 5.5, a major upgrade that brings support for Java Enterprise Edition 5, and expanded its NetBeans partner program, which adds a new "strategic partner" tier.

The crux of the NetBeans 5.5 update is compliance with Java EE 5, which was released in May. The integrated development environment (IDE) for Java application development now offers a host of tools supporting key Java EE 5 features, such as the Java Persistence API and JAX-WS 2.0 Web services.

A full feature list for NetBeans 5.5 and the code for the free, open-source software is available on Sun's NetBeans Web site. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun concurrently released five add-on packs for service-oriented architectures (SOAs), C/C++, Web and mobile device development, and application performance testing.

NetBeans competes primarily with Eclipse, the dominant IDE for Java development. Sun's expanded NetBeans partner program is aimed at expanding the NetBeans ecosystem by spotlighting the partners working there.

"What we wanted to do was set up something specifically for companies that are building their business on NetBeans, either by building plug-ins to the NetBeans IDE or by making NetBeans part of what they're recommending to their developer communities," said Matt Volpi, Sun's product line manager for mobile tools.Seventeen companies are in NetBeans's strategic partner program, including JBoss, Sprint, Amazon and Sony Ericsson. In addition to branding and marketing opportunities, such as sponsorship and speakers slots at events like Sun's NetBeans Days, Sun is offering free e-mail tech support to strategic partners.

"We're getting a lot of free exposure through NetBeans," said Jim Villano, co-founder of InsiTech, a Cheshire, Conn., ISV that sells a Java development environment called XTT.

InsiTech, now a strategic partner, struck a deal with Sun in July that added its software as a module in NetBeans' update center so that when customers update, they can bundle in an XTT download. That exposure has increased InsiTech's downloads by tenfold, Villano said. So far, the impact has been felt more in InsiTech's pipeline than in its actual sales, but Villano said he's pleased with the results.

"NetBeans is picking up in terms of interest levels," he said. "The exposure to a lot of developers in NetBeans' developer community has been very good for us."

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