Sun readying J2EE 1.4

Sun Microsystems Inc. officials on Wednesday presented a laundry list of technology and promotional efforts planned for the Java language, including the February release of Version 1.4 of J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition), featuring integrated Web services support.

Officials at corporate offices here also applauded a recent court ruling requiring Microsoft to bundle Java with Windows and expressed intentions to boost support for developers, including adding more open-source efforts. But don't look for Sun to make Java available under an open-source format anytime soon, a company executive said.

J2EE 1.4 officially integrates Web services support, including SOAP and WSDL functionality that many developers already have tacked on to Java, according to Mark Hapner, distinguished engineer for Java software at Sun, in Palo Alto, Calif. Web services backing is being added to J2EE via Sun's JAX RPC (Java API for XML-based RPC), Hapner said.

" SOAP and WSDL happened outside the Java community itself, but really, the people who picked up on that at the earliest stage [were part of] the Java community," said Hapner.

Tools and application servers supporting J2EE 1.4 are anticipated for release from vendors throughout the year, said John Fowler, Sun CTO for software, in Santa Clara, Calif. "It behooves the product teams to have these available relatively soon," Fowler said.

Additionally, Sun officials applauded a judge's ruling last month to force Microsoft Corp. to include Java in Windows. "It's a big win for Java because there will not be fragmentation on the desktop, there will be one Java," said Ingrid Van Den Hoogen, director of strategic marketing for Sun Software, in Santa Clara.

Officials at Sun also expressed intentions to collaborate with developers on open source. Currently, Sun has five open-source "communities" focused on Jxta, Jini, NetBeans, grid, and OpenOffice technologies, said Mike Bellissimo, Sun senior director for Sun Software Developer, Marketing, and Management, in Santa Clara, Calif. These efforts are supported through a relationship with Collabnet, he said. Sun is looking to invest more in these communities and possibly add more open-source resources in the tools area, and other areas as well, Bellissimo said.

Sun, however, does not plan to relinquish control over Java by offering it in an open-source format, according to Sun officials.

"We believe that our style of licensing and also the community that we've built up around the JCP [Java Community Process] lends itself well to Java," Van Den Hoogen said. "It has worked."

But she added that there may be a possibility at some point in the future. "We're always looking at new ways to promote Java in the industry," Van Den Hoogen added.

Sun also has no plans to join the IBM-led Eclipse initiative to provide an open-source tools environment, opting instead to promote its own NetBeans tools effort.

"There's an Oracle-led JSR [numbered 198] for an open Java IDE through JCP, which we believe is the right way in which to do this," Van Den Hoogen said. "NetBeans will comply with that JSR when it gets through the process. We believe that's the route to go right now."

One criticism of Eclipse levied by Sun was about the SWT (Standard Widget Toolkit) within Eclipse. "There's no official standard on SWT and it does not allow you to develop portable apps," Fowler said.

According to an IBM representative, SWT was developed because the Eclipse community needed a high-performance widget toolkit that integrated fully with Windows and other native toolkits such as GTK and Motif. SWT is available for use under an open-source licenseIn other Java-related efforts, Sun officials said:

* The company has been working with developers to simplify the Swing APIs, which enable expression of user interface controls in J2SE (Java 2 Standard Edition).

* Sun is simplifying Java code, via efforts such as JSR 175.

* Sun plans to help developers market their Java offerings to interested parties, such as assistance in marketing mobility applications to handset manufacturers.

* Linux developer support will be increased at Sun.

* Sun will boost efforts for developers in India and China.

* The Sun Developer Connection program will be relaunched and promoted as a one-stop shop for developers. It will be segmented by free and fee-based services.

* Sun will further promote its own tools, such as Sun ONE (Open Net Environment) Studio.

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