Ease-of-use is focus of Java improvements

Making Java development easier is the focus of both an upcoming release of the J2EE specification and an IBM Corp. tools rollout.

Modeled after the recently announced J2SE 1.5, J2EE 1.5 will provide features such as ease of development, metadata support, and generics. The metadata feature provides the ability to associate additional, annotated data alongside Java classes, interfaces, and fields. Generic types enable API designers to provide common functionality for use with multiple data types.

"The developers think the ease-of-development features are a pretty big deal," said Joe Keller, vice president of Java Web services and tools marketing at Sun Microsystems Inc., during an interview last week.

With WebSphere Studio Version 5.1.2, IBM seeks to streamline Java development, which would have the company sharing a similar goal with rival Sun Microsystems, the creator of Java.

"The theme around the WebSphere Studio release is making Java development easier," said Eric Naiburg, manager of desktop products at IBM. Sun has been on a similar path, readying its Java Studio Creator tool, which is aimed at easing Java development, for shipment in late June.

The IBM announcement this week will include new versions of WebSphere Studio Site Developer and Application Developer tools. According to IBM officials, added functionality will allow developers to build dynamic Web applications and business logic without knowing Java, quickly build and test Java Web and portal applications, and adapt the development environment to match user needs.

The tools will also be compliant with the JavaServer Faces specification for building dynamic Web interfaces. "We're providing visual tools for JavaServer Faces to enable developers to drag and drop these UI components onto a page," said Jon Ward, market manager of WebSphere Studio. The two products will ship in mid-May.

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