Sun touts Java for Web services

Sun Microsystems on Monday kicked off its sixth annual JavaOne conference here, beating the drum for Java as the development tool for building Web-based applications that run on PCs as well as on other devices.

About 20,000 attendees descended on San Francisco's Moscone Center, but noticeably absent was Sun CEO Scott McNealy. McNealy will miss the weeklong conference because of personal obligations, officials said.

Instead, this year's conference was hosted by a much more somber cast of Sun executives, including President and Chief Operating Officer Ed Zander, chief researcher John Gage and Rich Green, general manager for Java software.

"We need to do a lot more with Java to create the second generation of the Web, something called Web services," Zander said. He introduced what Sun calls the DART architecture, a distributed infrastructure approach that includes databases, applications, reports and transaction capabilities that run atop Sun's Solaris operating system.

"This is effectively the next generation of the Web, and the next generation of what we have to do to the Java experience," Zander said. It's the "next generation of how we have to build out the infrastructure over the next couple of years."

These new styles of applications aim to ease content delivery to a variety of devices and across operating systems. Sun officially launched its foray into Web services -- a development strategy also backed by IBM and Microsoft -- in February. Sun's Web services strategy, called Sun One Net Environment, addresses the use of component architectures that allow applications to share functionality across the Web to disparate computing platforms such as PCs, handheld pagers and cellular phones.

At the center of the Web services thrust is Sun's Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE), a specification for building applications that allows Java components to run on the server. More than 20 application servers by vendors such as San Jose-based BEA Systems Inc. and IBM comply with the J2EE specification.

"The application server is the new engine for application development," Zander said.

Attendees can also expect plenty of focus on building Java-based applications to run on devices, such as cellular phones, personal digital assistants and smart cards based on Sun's Java 2 Micro Edition specification.

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