Sun Microsystems Inc. Monday brought its Java enterprise server platform up to speed with emerging Web services standards, releasing a set of extensions that allow developers to build and run XML (Extensible Markup Language) applications on the Java platform.
The Java XML Pack is the first certified release of Web services tools for J2EE (Java 2, Enterprise Edition), the server software platform that is based on the Java programming language.
Java developers already have some tools provided by the open-source community that allow them to build XML-based Web services for J2EE, said Karen Shipe, a product manager with Sun's Java XML group. However, Sun's release Monday is the first such technology that has gone through the Java certification process.
"What the Java XML Pack does is give developers a standard way of building Web services," she said. "This will allow developers to take XML applications and make them run functionally on the Java platform."
Formerly known as the JAX Pack before Sun was forced to change the name due to a copyright conflict, the Java XML Pack adds capability for XML messaging and data binding, as well as remote procedure calls using SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol).
The Web services pack is missing support for the UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration) directory as well as WSDL (Web Services Description Language), two standard pieces of the Web services puzzle. Sun plans to add support for those additional standards in a software download that will be available from the company within 30 days, Shipe said.
Makers of server software products for the J2EE platform -- ranging from BEA Systems Inc. to Sun, which has its own iPlanet line of software products -- are racing Microsoft Corp. to offer tools for building XML-based Web services. Microsoft's Visual Studio.Net development software, which is still in beta testing, enables developers to build XML Web services to run on the Windows operating system.
Sun's technology is aimed mainly at enterprise developers building J2EE applications who are looking to add support for XML and SOAP. Sun is also making the Web services pack available to major tool vendors who will incorporate the standards-based technology into future versions of their Java toolkits. Those toolkits include Sun's Forte for Java, Borland Software Corp.'s JBuilder, Oracle Corp. JDeveloper, and WebGain Inc.'s Visual Cafe.
"Tools vendors are bundling this Java XML Pack technology into their tools so that they can provide a standard, Java-blessed version of all the Java XML technologies," Shipe said.
Sun has been testing the Java XML Pack through its Early Access program since August and has made it available for free download at http://java.sun.com/xml/downloads/javaxmlpack.html. It is available to developers using programming tools that support J2EE Version 1.2 and the most current version of J2EE, Version 1.3.
The company first announced the technology during its JavaOne conference in San Francisco in June, handing out an early version of a related set of XML tools, called the Web Services Pack. That software bundle includes the Java XML Pack and will be released in full next year, Sun said.