Macromedia spruces up app server

Macromedia Inc. on Monday announced an upgrade of JRun, the company's J2EE enterprise application server, featuring a new Java API (application programming interface), Web services support and enterprise-class clustering.

The company says JRun 4 adds support for the J2EE 1.3 specification, which features updated APIs for Java Server Pages, Java Servlets and Enterprise Java Beans, said Dan Murphy, senior product marketing manager for JRun. All have been updated to include features such as custom tags and Bean managed persistence, to give developers more control over application performance, Murphy said. The product also includes support for the SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), XML (Extensible Markup Language) and WSDL (Web Services Description Language) protocols to improve integration, publishing and consumption of Web services, he added.

Version 4 also includes new features called Auto Deployment and Hot Modification. What those two features mean to a Java developer is they never have to restart their server when they're developing applications, so there's no down time, Murphy said.

Enterprise-class clustering, designed to enable system failover and load balancing, also has been added to version 4 courtesy of Sun's Jini technology, allowing for auto discovery of peers in a clustered environment, according to Murphy. Clustering eliminates the possibility of a single point of failure, he said.

The Jini technology will automatically understand what servers are available and replicate information automatically, said Murphy.

In addition, the software offers integration capabilities - such as drag and drop menu trees - with Macromedia's recently announced Flash MX software.

A JRun 4 user touted the benefits of the platform including system management, Java support, clustering and cost benefits.

One of the best things we found with JRun is it's strictly compliant with J2EE 1.3, said Jason McKerr, database development engineer at Northwest Alliance for Computational Science and Engineering, a university think tank and software development organization in Corvallis, Ore. JRun causes applications to be more compliant with the J2EE 1.3 specification, he said.

Improved management and control in version 4 boosts the ability to deploy objects and components. McKerr said. Every time I compile a class or an object, I don't have to restart the server, said McKerr.

Clustering across multiple systems improves JRun's scalability, McKerr said. With good clustering, you can get five or six JRun instances in a clustered environment, he said. While JRun itself does not scale as well as rival BEA's offering, utilizing clustering can compensate for this while still providing cost advantages, said McKerr.

Version 4 is available on May 17. A single edition with all capabilities costs US$899 per CPU (central processing unit). Upgrades for existing JRun customers cost $499 per CPU.

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