BEA readying Java Web services technology

BEA Systems early in 2004 plans to have a reference implementation of Java technology intended to simplify deployment of Web services, based on the company's own WebLogic Workshop IDE.

Java Specification Request (JSR) 181 enables cross-container deployment of Java Web Services consistent with the Workshop framework, the company said. BEA defines Java Web Services as a Web services file extension used in Workshop.

The proposal, entitled "Web Services Metadata for the Java Platform," was launched by BEA in 2002 and submitted to the Java Community Process (JCP) for standardizing new Java technologies. JSR 181 defines an annotated Java syntax for programming Web services.

The reference implementation will be publicly downloadable for use as a blueprint in developing like frameworks to Workshop for Web services deployment, according to BEA.

Through JSR 181, a Java Web services file created in Workshop could more easily run on other vendors' J2EE-compliant application servers, said Dave Cotter, BEA director of developer product marketing. Web services files developed in Workshop can be deployed on other application servers besides BEA's now, but developers lose productivity gains available in Workshop, according to Cotter.

JSR 181 "is the specification with associated reference implementation of how somebody could create a framework that could interpret these Java Web Services files that have annotations in them," Cotter said.

An analyst was not impressed with JSR 181.

"All in all, (JSR is) not really all that significant," said Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst at ZapThink, in an e-mail response to questions.

"The main point to JSR 181 is to provide for greater simplicity for developers of Web services on a Java platform," Bloomberg said. "The key to understanding this JSR is that it consists of metadata for describing Web services and is proposed as an instance of the JSR 175 metadata facility for Java. In other words, the Java source code can be commented (on) in a programmatic, rigorous way, providing a consistent way of explaining the Java code to developers."

But Cotter said the company has received positive responses.

"The feedback that we've gotten from the industry and customers is that 181 is significant in how it makes Java or Java programming much more approachable," he said.

According to the JCP Web site, JSR 181 has the support of BEA, Borland Software, Sun Microsystems, and Iona Technologies.

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