Sun Microsystems has announced the release of preview versions of the Java Platform Enterprise Edition 5 software development kit and the NetBeans Enterprise Pack 5.5 Software.
Sun announced beta versions of these technologies on Feb. 21, saying these offerings feature technologies that provide developers with the next-generation Java platform and tools for building and deploying Web services and SOA (service-oriented architecture) applications.
Moreover, the new betas feature contributions from the open-source GlassFish Project and NetBeans communities, the company said.
And the news comes on the heels of several recent developer-oriented announcements Sun has made, including the launches of NetBeans 5.0, Java Studio Creator 2, Java Standard Edition 6 (aka Project Mustang), Java Studio Enterprise 8, and Sun Studio 11—all of which are also now available at no cost to developers, the company said.
Graham Hamilton, a vice president and fellow on the Java platform team at Sun, based in Santa Clara, Calif., said the Java EE Platform 5 is a major revamp of the enterprise developer programming model that radically simplifies Java EE development, especially for Web services and transactional components.
“Java EE 5 went into beta today,” Hamilton said in his blog Feb. 21. “Ive been raving at people inside of Sun about how important this is. I think Java EE 5 will be by far the biggest developer event of 2006. I love what weve accomplished in Tiger [Java SE 5] and Mustang, but Java EE 5 brings a much deeper and more important set of changes.”
Hamilton added that Java EE 5 “radically simplifies Java EE development, especially for Web Services (JAX-WS 2.0) and transactional components (EJB 3.0). And it also brings a new simplified database persistence model (Java Persistence).
“J2SE 5.0 (Tiger) was a big deal and a great release. But for me its most important feature was the Java language annotations work. That work was specifically intended to enable radical Ease-of-Development changes in Java EE. Now were delivering those changes in Java EE 5 and it seems to be working: Code that used to be convoluted and awkward in J2EE 1.4 is now dramatically simplified in Java EE 5.
“Its all about making developers productive. We want to reduce the amount of time you need to spend worrying about the Java EE plumbing and thus increase the amount of time you can spend on your real application logic.”
Sun officials said the new Java EE 5 platform facilitates Web and enterprise application development through features such as EJB (Enterprise JavaBeans) 3.0, the Java Persistence API, JavaServer Faces API and JAX-WS (Java API for XML-based Web Services and Annotations).
EJB 3.0 adds support for programming with POJOs (Plain Old Java Objects), which can be converted to Web Services with Annotations or made persistent using the Java Persistence API, the company said. JAX-WS simplifies the creation of Web services by automatically generating client and server code and supporting the latest SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and WSDL (Web Services Description Language) standards.
JavaServer Faces 1.2 simplifies the building of user interfaces for Web-based applications by providing pre-packaged components that developers can access from applications. And Annotations greatly reduces the size of the deployment descriptors that developers have to write, the company said.
“Community involvement in the development of the Java EE 5 Platform and NetBeans Enterprise Pack 5.5 Software previews has been invaluable,” said Jeff Jackson, senior vice president of Suns Java Enterprise Developer Group. “Combined with Suns own expertise, input of the developer community and our Java platform partners is helping to extend Java technologys leadership position as the premier development platform for solving IT and business challenges in the Web 2.0 era.”
Suns Goals for Java
Meanwhile, Sun said there have been more than 8 million downloads of the NetBeans IDE (integrated development environment) to date. The NetBeans Enterprise Pack 5.5 Software Preview includes all of the capabilities of the NetBeans 5.0 IDE, plus the technologies previously only available in the Sun Java Studio Enterprise Software.
This preview bundle gives developers early access to tools that enable Java EE 5 Platform development and creation of SOA applications, including UML (Unified Modeling Language) tools; visual design tools for SOA architects; and the Java EE 5 Platform SDK Preview, including the Sun Java System Application Server PE 9 beta, Sun said.
“We realized that the big challenge was to greatly simplify the Java EE development model so that developers could use the power of Java EE, but avoid the complexity and the boilerplate” which was an issue in Java 2 Enterprise Edition 1.4, the current version of Java EE, Hamilton said in his blog. “This was a key motivation behind a major Ease-of-Development initiative that we ran across J2SE 5.0 and Java EE 5.”
Hamilton said the Java EE 5 goals included: “Eliminate common boilerplate…; Focus in on Plain Old Java Objects (POJOs)…; Improve defaults, so that the 90 percent common cases just work; Eliminate the need for deployment descriptors (but still allow people to add them later); and Emphasize truth-in-source-code so that source code clearly specifies what is going on…”
In addition, Hamilton said, “One of the key early decisions was to move to a more declarative programming model. Rather than requiring that people programmatically code up behavior, we wanted to allow people to specify behavior in some kind of declarative style, so that tools and libraries could recognize your intent and take care of the programmatic actions for you. But at the same time we wanted to get away from complex XML side files or obscure naming patterns as the way of specifying behavior. We wanted to allow both simple declarative coding and also return to an emphasis on truth-in-source-code.”
The official Java EE 5 beta bits are available here.
Also on Feb. 21, Sun announced its new Sun DSP (Developer Service Plans) program to help developers shorten the application development learning cycle, increase productivity and take advantage of Suns software development tools when building enterprise-class applications for Solaris 10, Java technology and the Java Enterprise System, the company said.
DSP delivers product support and updates, training, and programming advice that reduces time and risk through the entire application life cycle, from development through deployment, Sun officials said.