Oracle Submits API Standard for Java IDEs

Oracle architect Ted Farrell says that if the standard is accepted, it will mean less work for developers.

Oracle Corp. on Tuesday announced that it submitted a Java Specification Request (JSR) to the Java Community Process (JCP) for a new application programming interface to enable standards-based extensions to work with any Java integrated development environment.

Ted Farrell, architect and director of strategy for application development tools at Oracle, in Redwood Shores, Calif., said if accepted, the JSR, known as JSR 198, The Standard Extension API for Integrated Development Environments, will mean less work for developers.

"There are a lot of technologies out there, from Borland, to our product, to WebGain, to NetBeans and others, and they all require developers to write multiple versions of their add-ins for their stuff to work with each different IDE," Farrell said. "This API would enable them to write their extensions once and have their extensions run with any standard Java IDE."

Farrell said although Oracle has technology available that it could submit as part of this specification, the company is simply promoting the idea and will work with other interested companies to develop the specification. He said Sun Microsystems Inc., Macromedia Inc., and JetBrains Inc. have pledged support for the JSR.

Farrell said although the JSR process can typically take from six months to two years to complete a specification, he expects this JSR would "run on the shorter side of that" because there is technology available to support this proposed specification.

Meanwhile, Farrell said Oracle has joined the Board of Stewards for the IBM-sponsored Eclipse open source application development platform.

"We want to ensure that Eclipse users will have an environment to build software for Oracle runtimes, Farrell said. "We are a member in good standing in the Java community and we support many programming environments. We want to give Eclipse users the same kind of benefit writing to the Oracle platform."

Ironically, JSR 198, which Oracle submitted to the Sun-run JCP, is based on Java-standard components such as the Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT) and Swing for creating graphical user interface (GUI) application parts such as buttons and dialogs. Yet, Eclipse supports a different GUI development platform, the Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT), which competes with AWT.

However, Farrell, who will be Oracles steward on the Eclipse board, said he does not see a problem with that. "Oracle can bring an additional perspective to the board," he said.