Oct 01, 2004

Buying Borland JBuilder 2005...

On July 30th, I purchased a seat of Borland JBuilder Developer X from Borland's online store for download, but for some odd reason, I never got a download link. As is so trendy these days, Borland has outsourced their on-line store to Digital River, and I was rather persistent in calling, however, Digital River insisted that the problem was with Borland, and that I should e-mail them directly. However, when I e-mailed Borland, no one ever responded.

Around the same time, I purchased a seat of Gentleware's Poseidon for UML, and like many on-line orders, my license information came almost instantly; this is the entire point of on-line orders, though, where impulse buyers simply purchase software.

In the case of my purchase of JBuilder, Digital River required several follow-ups. When JBuilder 2005 was announced, I figured that the reason for the delay was the fact that they were planning to send me 2005. But alas, when Programmers Paradise had JBuilder availability, I started calling more frequently. Finally on Monday, I got to speak to a manager at Digital River, who promised me to open a new order and send a physical shipment of JBuilder, of which I would receive two e-mails. However, come Tuesday, I had not received any e-mails from them, so I followed up with Digital River again. Again they attempted to brush me off the phone, however, when I insisted that the order be canceled, suddenly she placed me on hold, and offered to send me a physical JBuilder Developer 2005 seat. But as this is a new order, their systems must charge me again, and then credit me the previous amount plus shipping and handling; I am not sure exactly how this is going to work, but alas, I have my seat of JBuilder Developer 2005.

The packaging is very cool, and I quickly threw the first CD into my Linux box. It should be noted that officially, Borland only supports RedHat Enterprise Linux or Java Desktop System, whereas I am running SuSE Linux Pro 9.1, but normally this is just normally the fine print.

I saw that it had a install-linux.sh script, so I ran it, and I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, it came up, but it really took longer than I was expecting, especially for a menu with three options, viz. Install, Web information, and Close. I clicked Install, and again waited. Again, this took longer than I expected, but eventually the installer took over, and this went fairly smoothly.

After it was installed, I started it up, by pecking in /usr/local/JBuilder2005/bin/jbuilder, and shortly thereafter I got:

Invalid maximum heap size: -Xmx-600m
Unable to create JVM.

What? This is weird. After a trying various things, I eventually thought of looking in the /usr/local/JBuilder2005/bin/jbuilder.config file, which read:

vmmemmin 32m
vmmemmax 75%

Because of the 75% bit, I decided to change vmmemmax to 1024M, and finally it started. I guess JBuilder has some problems detecting 75% of 3,371,548 bytes for some reason.

I have not used JBuilder 2005 a lot yet, however, it looks a lot like JBuilder Developer X, but more refined, such as it shows you which files are checked out of CVS, even at the package level. Borland's Code Audit feature is also notably different than other code audits, in that it does not do your entire code-base, but rather the file that you are in. While this is good for new code, it is not possible to get a full report of all your existing code. In addition to this, it does not seem to be as complete as others that I have used, in the sense that its basic goal it to enforce coding style. Other code analysis programs, such as JLint report on thinks like potential deadlocks and other such issues.

Globally, it seems great, but I am still disappointed in the process that I had to go through in order to get my order. Two months to acquire a download purchase is extreme. Not responding to customer's e-mails is not acceptable. Things like this go against the entire premise of on-line ordering, where there is no second guessing. This is similar to web sites that use a mailto: link instead of a form for acquiring e-mail addresses; the mailto: link not only assumes that e-mail is configured, but instead of just a pecking in an e-mail address, customers are presented a message window, which is more of a commitment than sending their e-mail addresses regularly.

One man at Digital River that I spoke to at least twice on different occasions did indicate that he had never seen this before. While I am happy to hear that it was not a regular occurrence, they did not handle it well at all. But I am glad that it is over, and I can finally enjoy my JBuilder Developer 2005 :-).

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