Sun To Unwrap Web Services Game Plan

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-02-05

Sun microsystems inc. will become the last of the behemoths to roll out a Web services road map this week when it unveils its Smart Services strategy for building the new type of application.

Sources familiar with the companys plans say Smart Services will be focused around Java, with the iPlanet application server as the basis for the architecture. Reusable components, available from third parties, also will be part of the mix.

Sun officials declined to comment on the strategy. But sources said the company will try to leverage its developers tool kit, code-named Brazil, with the new program. Brazil, a framework for building applications, is made up of reusable components that can be assembled into Web services. The company also said the tool kit will enable stand-alone systems to work together.

Also expected to enter into the equation is a group of Java APIs for XML (Extensible Markup Language).

"What theyre going to try to do is leverage the Java platform into XML, and what the industry wants is a little bit of separation between Java and XML," said one source, adding that Sun is trying to take better advantage of iPlanet, a partnership between Sun and America Online Inc.

Sun is late to the Web services game. IBM, Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Oracle Corp. already have strategies announced or in place. Fundamental to all of them is the idea of a new type of application that can be assembled on the fly and is accessible through a browser, rather than applications needing to be downloaded.

Oracle was rumored to be a partner in Suns effort, but an Oracle official last week said the Redwood Shores, Calif., company didnt get involved because it hasnt seen "enough there" yet.

Rivals also criticize Sun for not being very involved in related efforts such as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and the UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration) specification. But Simon Phipps, Suns chief software evangelist, in Cupertino, Calif., said Sun was an early proponent of the Web services concept and is active in the UDDI and SOAP initiatives.

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