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InfoQ Homepage News Google Relaunches Instantiations Tools

Google Relaunches Instantiations Tools

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Having acquired the Java Tooling arm of Instantiations (leaving behind the SmallTalk group to carry on the old name), Google has now made their products available for free as part of the Google Web Toolkit project.

The primary reason for acquiring Instantiations was their GWT Designer, which explains why it is part of the GWT project. However, it also includes other products that are based on the same technology, including WindowBuilder Pro (last year's EclipseAward winner), WindowTester Pro and CodePro AnalytiX. Because these are all based on top of the Eclipse platform, any Eclipse-based IDE (or other runtime) can take advantage of the new features.

The licensing of the products cites the standard Google Accounts Terms of Service, and whilst they're being released for free in binary form, there's no news on whether they'll also be open sourced. Regardless, as Mike Milinkovich of the Eclipse Foundation said:

If you are a Java developer, Christmas came early this year. Today Google announced that they are making many of the key assets that they acquired from Instantiations.

This is a big deal for Java developers. These are professional-quality tools from which Instantiations made a very nice business for many years. And free is a great price.

This is also a big deal for Eclipse. These tools provide a great boost to the productivity of developers using the Eclipse platform. The most obvious example is in the area of GUI building. Let’s face it, the “available for free” GUI building story on Eclipse has been painful for a long time. Having this suite of tools available for free can only help to increase the value of the Eclipse platform to the community of Java developers. And with support for Swing, SWT and GWT you can use whichever Java-based UI framework that best meets your requirements.

It's true that NetBeans has had greater visual editing support for a while with Matisse, but Instantiations' tools were seen as excellent, not only through their quality but also because they could generate UIs for different systems (including SWT, the UI toolkit that gives Eclipse it's platform-appropriate user interface widgets).

Finally, it's worth remembering that Instantiations weren't just known for their UI toolkit; the CodePro analytics provided a great software code scan of codebases, and WindowTester provides a means of automated testing of GUI applications for Java UIs (including both SWT and Swing).

For more information, head to the appropriate Google page, as noted on the relaunch announcement:

  • GWT Designer
    Powerful Eclipse-based development tools that enable Java developers to quickly create Ajax user interfaces using Google Web Toolkit (GWT)

  • CodePro AnalytiX
    Comprehensive automated software code quality and security analysis tools to improve software quality, reliability, and maintainability

  • WindowBuilder Pro
    Java graphical user interface designer for Swing, SWT, GWT, RCP, and XWT UI frameworks

  • WindowTester Pro
    Test GUI interactions within Java client rich applications for the SWT and Swing UI frameworks

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