Hoping to land more than a glancing blow against Oracles claims that SAP is far from standards based, SAP plans to announce September 29 that the latest version of its application server is now certified on Suns Java EE 5 standard.
Even before Oracle.
The certification means that customers and partners can develop Java applications on SAPs NetWeaver platform using Suns latest Java standard, which passed ratification last May.
Graham Hamilton, vice president and Fellow in the Java platform team at Sun describes the Java EE 5 standard in his blog as "by far the biggest developer event of 2006,"since it "radically simplifies" Java J2EE development, especially for Web services and transactional components.
The key for SAP, however, is that the Java EE 5 certification nullifies Oracles claims that SAP is proprietary, while its own Fusion Middleware and Fusion Applications (still in Power Point version) are standards based and open, according to Bill Wohl, SAPs vice president of product and solutions public relations.
"We are the first application company to take their application server through the Java EE 5 standardization process. Weve clearly beaten Oracle. About the only one we didnt beat is Sun, but they are Java," said Wohl, in Walldorf, Germany.
"Oracle continues to hammer time and time again that SAP is closed and proprietary. Weve proven and demonstrated once again that were more open, and more adaptable, with new Java standards."
SAP does in fact have a proprietary programming language, ABAP. But back around 2002, the company added Java compatibility to its application server, which was furthered with the addition of its NetWeaver integration (and development) platform the following year.
The company has since maintained certification with each new Java standard.
Whats more important to users, however, is that with a combined Java and ABAP application server they can still leverage their investment in SAP by programming in ABAP, but they dont have to: users are also able to build and deploy new applications in a Web services environment using Java.
"The core of SAP applications are written in ABAP," said Wohl. "[Our application server] enables those that program in the ABAP world to play in the Java space, and allows the two to communicate and collaborate. Its a major difference between where we were prior to NetWeaver."
The Sept. 29 certification announcement is also a vindication of sorts for SAP. The company, usually stoic in the face of Oracles invectives, has of late been talking back.
There was much wrangling between the two companies last week—with Wall Street analysts sitting on both sides of the fence—over Oracles comments that its whipping the pants off SAP with new license sales.
Oracle claimed its first quarter 2007 software revenues, reported Sept. 19, grew 80 percent while SAPs grew 8 percent.
Some analysts who took a closer look at the numbers determined Oracles license revenues were actually closer to flat when one took into account three acquisitions Oracle made in 2005.
"Oracle needs to adopt one version of the truth, and be honest with the market on its actual progress," wrote Wohl in a Sept. 20 statement following Oracles earnings call with press and analysts.
Either way, the Java EE 5 certification may not mean a lot of customers just yet. Many users are just starting to adopt the latest version—with a good many still not even on J2EE 1.4 yet, according to industry experts.