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Review: Omnicore X-develop Professional 1.0

Today's heterogeneous environments require developers to be able to switch between multiple environments, thus incurring the need for multiple IDEs. But Omnicore's X-develop may make the hassle of multiple IDEs a thing of the past.




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n today's heterogeneous environments, it's not uncommon to have to switch between environments—say VB.NET and Java—and that usually requires having two robust IDEs (especially considering that VisualStudio.NET is not just an IDE, but also an interface designer and can be a bit unwieldy). However, I recently discovered an IDE that will work not only with Java, but also the languages of the .NET suite. Omnicore, a small German company, has developed an IDE called CodeGuide, which is currently being used by a lot of different, large companies worldwide. Now, they have released X-develop, a multi-language, cross-platform IDE.

The strength of X-develop is not so much in what it can do, but what it can do in multiple languages. X-develop has a lot of features that you wouldn't expect in a 1.0 version. This may be due to the fact that they were able to capitalize on the codebase of CodeGuide, Omnicore's previous IDE offering (for Java only). This includes things like refactoring, error-checking (real time), and JSP/Tomcat integration.

X-develop currently supports the following languages:

  • Java (and JSP)
  • C#
  • J#
  • Visual Basic (VB.NET)

Setup and Installation
X-develop can be installed on the following OS's:

  • Windows ME/NT/2000/XP/2003
  • MacOS X Tiger (10.4)
  • Linux x86
Installation is straightforward on Windows XP (SP2), though I did have one minor issue initially which I suspect was due to a corruption that happened when downloading—because a second download eliminated the issue. When you first open X-develop, you will be prompted as to what format you wish to store your project information in. I selected X-develop, but later thought it would be good to use Eclipse. However, I couldn't find where to change this option, so choose wisely.

This brings up another crucial point: the documentation for X-develop is all but non-existent. They have a few how-to's online and an online forum, but there is literally no inline help and what help does exist is not extremely helpful—especially for new users of the IDE. Hopefully, given that their help is all online, this will be changed soon. The fact remains that at this point, documentation appears to be a complete afterthought. That major disappointment aside, if you have used other IDEs, getting up and running is not exactly rocket science.

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