In a bid to beef up BEA’s development tools offering, the company announced today the acquisition of Eclipse-based tools company M7.

While the financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed, BEA is planning to incorporate M7’s NitroX developer tools with BEA’s next version of WebLogic Workshop Integrated Development Environment (IDE). According to BEA executives the new IDE will be dubbed BEA Workshop for Java and is expected to ship between March and June next year.

Founded in 1999, M7 specialises in providing developers with tools based on open-source and open-standards technologies, in particular Java Server Faces, Struts, Hibernate, and Java Server Pages (JSP). BEA is keen to support open source technologies to make their WebLogic application server more flexible for enterprise customers using a mix of technologies.

In February this year the company announced it was moving its current WebLogic WorkShop IDE to the popular Eclipse tools framework to provide a tooling base for all future BEA product offerings.

BEA’s executive vice president of products, Wai Wong, told Builder AU the company plans to have a free version of Workshop for Java and a commercial edition with extra features that will be available for a fee under a subscription model.

The deal follows BEA’s purchase of portal vendor Plumtree last month for US$200 million.