Sun Microsystems today will announce version 1.3 of Java 2 Enterprise Edition, which is designed to make it easier to use Java in building Web applications and services and linking them to legacy systems.
J2EE 1.3 is the first full release to come out of Suns painstaking joint technology building Java Community Process. J2EE 1.2 was released by Sun in December 1999.
Over the intervening 21 months, Java has been expanded as a development platform, moving beyond the tenets of the Java language itself into providing greater connectivity, interactions of modules of Java code known as JavaBeans and building in support for Java Message Service (JMS).
"Weve been filling in the pieces around Enterprise JavaBeans, Java Server Pages [which allow Java interactions between browser users and Web servers on HTML pages] and Servlets [or Java server commands]," said Ralph Galantine, Suns J2EE product line manager.
One gap that is being filled is the need for connectors between Java Web applications and legacy systems. Connectors to legacy systems are typically provided by enterprise application integration vendors, but only a handful of vendors offer a broad suite, such as Interwoven or Neon Systems.
The Java community, in contrast, wanted a lower cost, standard way of building connectors and a broad set available to Java developers, Galantine said. The connectors available from Java vendors are listed at http://java.sun.com/j2ee/connector/products.html.
They include connectors, also known as adapters, from SeeBeyond Technology, which provides linking software to IBMs CICS, PeopleSoft, SAPs R/3 and Oracle. Tibco Software offers a similar set, as does CrossWorlds Software, but CrossWorlds also links to such e-commerce vendors as BroadVision, Commerce One, Clarify and i2 Technologies. Actional offers connectors to IBMs MQSeries middleware and Clarify customer relationship management. No pricing on the available connectors has been announced.
J2EE 1.3 has added JMS to the list of requirements of the Java platform. JMS allows a Java application to create, send and receive messages with both the sender and receiver required to be available at the same time, said Vijay Sarathy, Suns senior product manager for J2EE integration. Called asynchronous messaging, it allows messages to be stored and forwarded once the receiver is available, with the system confirming receipt of the message.
In addition, Web sites that employ Java Server Pages now have the option of using Java API (Application Programming Interface) XML Processing, which allows an XML tool user to create Java Server Pages by coding in XML. JAXP gives Java Server Pages "an XML view," Sarathy said. Java Server Pages are not used as broadly as Microsofts Active Server Pages, but the XML enhancement may make cause XML programmers to make greater use of active Java elements on Web pages, he said.
In addition, J2EE 1.3 incorporates Enterprise JavaBeans 2.0, which gives the container of an Enterprise JavaBean, the envelope around an independent module of code, the ability to write data so that it can be saved in memory and used again with the Enterprise JavaBeans.
Enterprise JavaBeans must now use the Internet InterOrb Protocol so that an Enterprise JavaBean sitting on a Hewlett-Packard or IBM server can communicate across platforms different from one on a Sun Microsystems or Silicon Graphics Inc. server.
Enterprise JavaBeans also now have the capability of using Enterprise JavaBeans Query Language to query a set of Enterprise JavaBeans to find the one that might have the service sought, Sarathy said.