Merant Tool Links Java Apps to SQL Server 2000

To help developers link Java applications to SQL Server 2000, Microsoft Corp. has licensed a downloadable software driver from connectivity specialist Merant International Ltd.

Using the Java Database Connectivity Driver, built by Merants Morrisville, N.C., DataDirect division, Microsoft will offer the beta download for free, most likely by the end of this week, with the final version expected in a few months, said Jeff Ressler, Microsofts lead product manager for SQL Server, in Redmond, Wash.

The driver will also work for Java 2 Enterprise Edition applications, he said, and since its actually built in Java code, it will work on many flavors of the Unix and Linux operating systems, not only on Windows.

Although the driver is already available from Merant and similar drivers are available from other third-party makers, developers using the Microsoft version will be guaranteed of compatibility and support, Ressler said. The companies have previously worked together, with Merant having built Active Data Objects and Object Linking & Embedding database drivers.

"Its Microsofts official statement that we recognize this is something customers want. Environments are heterogeneous, and we recognize that. We now have control over the release vehicles and the release dates," Ressler said.

But although Microsofts license will let them suggest changes, only Merant can actually make the changes, said Merants John Goodson, vice president of product operations. Moreover, while Merant plans to upgrade from Java 2.0 to 3.0 when technology owner Sun Microsystems Inc. makes it available later this year—which would facilitate technology like nested transactions and file save points—Microsoft currently only has permission to use the current version, he said. On its own, Merant plans to add distributed transaction support and scalability enhancements, he said.

The download from Microsoft will be about 12MB, including documentation, Ressler said.