Sun Microsystems has announced the availability of Java Platform Standard Edition 6 (Java SE 6).
This new version of Suns Java platform is "an exciting release for us because its our first community release," said Jean Elliott, director of Developer Marketing at Sun.
The Java SE 6 release is the result of more than two years of industry-wide development involving open review, weekly builds and extensive collaboration between Sun engineers and more than 330 external developers, the company said.
Java SE 6 comes out of JSR (Java Specification Request) 270, known as the umbrella JSR for the Java SE 6 platform. And companies such as IBM, Oracle, Red Hat, SAP, BEA, Google and Intel joined Sun in shaping the technology.
In fact, more than 160 companies worked with Sun and tested their Java technology-based applications on the Java SE 6 platform to help ensure compatibility, stability and optimum performance for the Java SE 6 release.
Backward compatibility of Java SE 6 with previous versions of the platform preserves the skill sets of current Java software developers and protects Java technology investments, the company said. In-depth information and technology downloads for the Java SE 6 release are available here.
Although Sun has announced plans to open-source Java, Java SE 6 is being released under Suns traditional license.
Meanwhile, sun officials said Java SE 6 software makes development easier, faster and more cost-efficient and delivers enhanced functionality around a few key themes, including Web services, dynamic language support, diagnostics and desktop applications. Elliott said Java SE 6 in combination with Suns open-source toolset, NetBeans 5.5, gives developers a solid framework for building applications and web services.
"A whole host of scripting engines are in that project," Elliott said. "The framework will enable developers to use any scripting engine that implements the JSR 223 APIs."
In addition, the Java SE 6 software includes a full Web services client stack and supports the latest Web services specifications, such as Java API for XML Web Services (JAX-WS) 2.0, Java Architecture for XML Binding (JAXB) 2.0, the Streaming API for XML (STAX) and the Java API for XML Processing (JAXP), Elliott said.
Moreover, the Java SE 6 platform provides expanded tools for diagnosing, managing and monitoring applications and also includes support for the new NetBeans Profiler 5.5 and for Solaris DTrace, a dynamic tracing framework that is included in the Solaris 10 Operating System, Elliott said.
In addition, the Java SE 6 software further increases ease of development with tool interface updates for the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and the JPDA (Java Platform Debugger Architecture).
Meanwhile, the Java SE 6 release delivers significant improvements to the desktop, Elliott said. For instance, for rapid visual development of interactive applications, the Java SE 6 platform includes a new layout manager component, based on the NetBeans GUI Builder (formerly code named Matisse), she said. And Java SE 6 also provides enhanced support for Windows Vista, Elliott added.
"We welcome the Java SE 6 release and its compatibility with Windows Vista because we want to see a good Java technology experience available for customers using Windows," said Brad Goldberg, general manager for Windows Client at Microsoft, in a statement. "We have worked very closely with Sun through the development process to ensure continued compatibility and interoperability between Java technology, Windows and the latest versions of Internet Explorer.
And developers using the Java SE 6 platform or Sun Developer Tools can get support through Sun Developer Services. For the Java SE 6 release, Sun is offering a special promotion for 60 days of unlimited support for Java SE 6 software, free of charge, through Sun Developer Expert Assistance.
Meanwhile, Sun JMP (Java MultiPlatform) Support offers Java technology support for customers with heterogeneous computing environments and helps to optimize application performance and reduce risk. In addition to the existing one-year offering, Sun is now offering new three year subscription pricing for JMP Support to help customers lower costs. Sun Developer Network Program members can also get a 10 percent discount on the new Java SE 6 technology training course.
"Java SE 6 technology is now, more than ever, an extremely strong platform for both developers and vendors and the NetBeans IDE is the best way for developers to leverage all the new functionality in the Java SE 6 release," said Rich Green, executive vice president of Software at Sun, in a statement.
"With expanded dynamic language and Web services support, the Java SE 6 platform is optimized for building Web 2.0 applications and services. Moving forward, the OpenJDK project will define how Suns Java SE implementation evolves and we look forward to working even more closely with the developer community on the next version of the Java SE platform."