Mustang version of Java racing toward beta release

Web 2.0 and expanded support for scripting languages are expected to be key themes of the planned Mustang version of Java, which is due in a beta release later this month.

Officially known as Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE) 6, this release will later emerge as a foundation for the GlassFish project and Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (EE) 5. GlassFish is an application server project that will implement Java EE 5. A final release of Mustang is due this fall.

Enabling use of scripting languages helps give Mustang a Web 2.0 bent, according to Bill Curci, product marketing manager for Java SE at Sun. "[With Web 2.0], it's this vision that the Web is the platform [for applications]," Curci said. Scripting languages have been gaining popularity as mechanisms for building Web-based applications.

Currently, Java developers must do a lot of hand coding to use non-Java scripting languages. This goes away in Mustang, with developers able to more easily use scripting languages such as Perl, PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor), Python, JavaScript, and Ruby.

"This new framework [in Mustang] allows people to work with any scripting language" and use Java objects, Curci said when interviewed on Tuesday, at the Evans Data Developer Relations Conference, in San Francisco.

Mustang also will make it easier to develop and publish Web services. Other themes suggested for Mustang have included compatibility and stability; diagnostics, monitoring, and management; ease of development; and enterprise desktop and transparency.

To gather feedback from the community at large, Sun has been posting source code and binaries for Mustang regularly. This has not always sat well with engineers developing the release.

"Putting raw source code up was really jarring to them," said Jean Elliott, director of developer marketing at Sun. "They didn't want to see something [published] that was in the process [of being developed], and we've overcome that."

Sun recently postponed the general release of Mustang from this summer to the fall, citing the need for more time after changes were made to Mustang's classloader. Additionally, Sun has launched a contest for developers to find regression issues in Mustang.

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