Partners, Rivals Fall in Line with Suns J2EE 1.4

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2004-04-26

Partners, Rivals Fall in Line with Suns J2EE 1.4

Sun Microsystems Inc. is sponsoring an event Monday to celebrate the adoption of J2EE 1.4, the latest version of Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition.

Several partners—as well as competitors—joined Sun at the San Francisco event to announce compatibility with J2EE 1.4 or plans to support the specification, which became available last November.

Five companies now offer J2EE-compatible products, Sun said. Those companies are Sun, of Santa Clara, Calif.; IBM Corp., of Armonk, N.Y.; Oracle Corp., of Redwood Shores, Calif.; Tmax Soft Inc., of Englewood Cliffs, N.J.; and Trifork A/S, of Aarhus, Denmark.

J2EE 1.4 is the Web services release of the J2EE specification in that it is the first version of J2EE to focus on promoting Web services through the convergence of Java, XML and Web services technology.

Dennis MacNeil, senior product manager of Java Web services at Sun, said the focus with J2EE 1.4 "is not only on application servers but the entire Java ecosystem. A number of players are here, not just in the application-server space."

In addition to IBMs and Oracles presence, the Sun-sponsored event included panels with officials from Borland Software Corp., BEA Systems Inc., SAP AG and others. And other companies, such as Attachmate Corp. and iWay Software, were on hand at the event to demonstrate complementary technologies.

MacNeil said the difference between moving to J2EE 1.3 and transitioning to J2EE 1.4 is that there are more lower-cost and open-source application-server alternatives this time around. "There is a great deal of choice," he said. "The vendors who were leaders with J2EE 1.3 may not necessarily be leaders with J2EE 1.4."

In addition to lower-cost application-server options from companies such as Pramati Technologies, of Hyderabad, India, free application servers from JBoss, the Apache Foundation and Sun also will support J2EE 1.4, MacNeil said.

Sun also announced a J2EE 1.4 Application Verification Kit (AVK) to test for portability and the proper use of J2EE APIs in application servers. The AVK tests to make sure that proprietary extensions vendors may provide in their application servers do not break portability.

Next Page: Sun says it is further expanding in China.

Expanding in China

Meanwhile, Trifork announced that its Trifork T4 application server has passed the J2EE 1.4 certification suite of about 25,000 tests and has become the first company in Europe to prove J2EE 1.4 compatibility.

Sun also announced further expansion of Java in China through a deal with Shenzhen Kingdee Middleware Co. Ltd., of Shenzhen, China, where Kingdee has licensed J2EE and said it plans to release a J2EE 1.4-compatible version of its Apusic Application Server.

ObjectWeb, the Grenoble, France-based consortium working on open-source middleware, announced that its JOnAS application server is now being tested against the J2EE 1.4 certification test suite.

And Pramati announced that its Pramati server will be J2EE 1.4-certified in the third quarter of this year.

"J2EE 1.4 represents a whole new opportunity for enterprises in being able to deliver Web services," MacNeil said.

In addition, J2EE 1.4 is a better environment for tools, said Steve Wilson, director for NetBeans technology at Sun. "J2EE 1.4 from a tools providers perspective makes it possible to build tools easier," Wilson said. He added that J2EE 1.4 is better for debugging and for deploying applications.

"One of the things were trying to do is make sure there are good tools available," Wilson said.

Suns open-source NetBeans integrated development environment version 3.6, released two weeks ago, supports J2EE 1.4, Wilson said.

Meanwhile, Sun, Oracle, BEA, SAP and others involved in the Java Tools Community (JTC) have been busy upgrading the groups Web site, called, which will feature advice to developers and provide expert groups dealing with topics related to Java tooling and Java Specification Requests (JSR).

Wilson said the site also will have a section dedicated to vendors, where ISVs can discuss issues such as whether to update JSRs or develop new ones. Wilson said the new features will appear on the site over the next month.

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