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Created: January 06, 2004.
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Java Tools Community (JTC) Formed to Support Design-Time Java Standards Interoperability.

Seeking to promote the "creation, adoption and advancement of Java Specification Requests (JSRs) for toolability and interoperability in the design-time area, several software vendors have formed a new collaborative effort under the title Java Tools Community (JTC). Founding companies include BEA Systems, Compuware, Embarcadero Technologies, Iopsis Software, JetBrains, Oracle Corp., Quest Software, SAP AG, SAS, and Sun Microsystems; founding customers include US Sprint and Verizon. Through the Java Community Process (JCP), the Java Tools Community "will provide an online community for tool vendors, customers and developers to collaborate together in three major areas. First, the JTC will strive to maximize the toolability of current and newly proposed JSRs. Second, the JTC will be dedicated to the interoperability of Java development tools and extensions through the advancement and proposal of design-time standards. Third, the JTC will strive for communication across the entire design-time community, allowing tool vendors, customers and developers to access information and provide input when creating or extending design-time Java standards via the JCP."

From the Announcement and FAQ Document

"The JTC will work toward making standard Java technology APIs friendlier for tool development. Currently, tool vendors cannot easily take advantage of standard APIs when building functionality into their tools and often create proprietary techniques to achieve the benefits that standards were originally created to address. "The JTC is something that the Java community really needs," said Mark Driver, research vice president, Gartner Group. "A forum where customers and vendors can work together to advance Java tools standards will help produce a much higher-quality set of development environments while further unifying the Java tools community."

Toolability is a measurement of how easy it is to build tools around a particular standard or technology. As a result, developers will be able to more easily use Java technology to build Java applications, increasing its rate of adoption... Toolability describes how much consideration a particular technology gives in the building of good tools used for its support. While most of the Java Community standards today are focused on the runtime architecture, there can, and should, be thought as to how to make the technology more accessible to developers and tool vendors. Toolability does not dictate how to build tools, but rather how to make the standard APIs friendlier for tools. The result of increased toolability is that developers will be able to more easily utilize these technologies and adoption is likely to take place more quickly. Tool Interoperability is used to describe commonality between APIs that allow for the adding of extensions. The common APIs allow tool extensions to interoperate and plug- in, for instance in areas such as data models and deployment APIs

"The Java Tools Community initiative adds great value to the JCP. It encourages and synchronizes greater involvement of Java tools vendors in creating Java technology standards," said Onno Kluyt, Director, Java Community Process, Program Management Office. "The initiative facilitates the combining of the expertise of the JCP members, such as the tool vendors, with the field experience of users resulting in even higher quality Java technology development tools and standards." The JTC is actively seeking the participation of Java tools and extension vendors who are members of the JCP, as well as Java tool users and customer organizations outside of the JCP to ensure that the JTC aligns with the needs of users and customer organizations.

"Eclipse supports any industry activities that support tool integration and interoperability," said Skip McGaughey, Eclipse Chairperson. "And I see the JTC as a strong industry initiative to achieve those objectives." There are three forms planned for participation in the JTC: core members who will form a steering committee; general members who will chiefly be Java software vendors; and community participants who contribute "advisory" customer input...

The JTC is a complementary organization to the JCP where members and participants can work together to advance the Java Community standards in the areas of toolability and interoperability. The results of the JTC will be new Java Specification Requests (JSRs) submitted to the JCP in the area of toolability and interoperability. JTC members will also participate in non-tool related JSR expert groups in an effort to promote better access to the different technologies through development tools. There is precedence for this type of relationship in the form of JAIN and OSS/J, and a hope that other special interest groups with specific vertical needs will use this model to better standardization efforts within the JCP.

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