Sun Pushes Ahead with New App Server, Web Toolset

Sun releases a beta of the new version of its GlassFish application server, a new Sun Web Developer Pack of tools and a new Java Specification Request for REST technology.

Sun Microsystems and the GlassFish community have announced the release of a beta version of GlassFish 2, the next major version of Suns open-source Java Enterprise Edition 5 application server.

Sun also announced the release of the Sun Web Developer Pack, a toolkit for simplifying and enabling advanced rich Internet applications.

With Version 2, GlassFish is now enterprise-ready as it has added features from Suns Java System Application Server Enterprise Edition, such as clustering, administration, WSIT (Web Services Interoperability Technology) and load balancing to support deployments for SOA (service-oriented architecture) and Web 2.0 applications, said Paul Hinz, Suns director of application platform product management, in Santa Clara, Calif.

In addition to the WSIT integration, which enables applications to interoperate between Web services hosted on Java and Windows environments, Sun has added JBI (Java Business Integration) for native SOA support, and support for Suns NetBeans open-source IDE (integrated development environment).

The GlassFish V2 beta is available here.

The Sun Web Developer Pack, available here, simplifies access to multiple open-source technologies for creating rich Internet-based applications, REST (Representational State Transfer) Web services and RSS feeds more rapidly, said Greg Murray, an AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) architect at Sun. The availability of the Web 2.0 toolkit reinforces Suns commitment to provide the developer community with next-generation Java technologies such as Project jMaki, Project Phobos, Dynamic Faces, WADL (Web Application Description Language), Atom and the Rome Atom/RSS Java utilities, Sun officials said.

Sun has been working on the Sun Web Developer Pack, including efforts such as the jMaki AJAX framework, for more than a year, Murray said. "Were really trying to connect with developers," he said.

/zimages/2/28571.gifSuns server revenue grew 15 percent in 2006. Click here to read more.

jMaki is a lightweight client/server framework for creating JavaScript-centric Web 2.0 applications using CSS (Cascading Stylesheets) layouts, widget models, client services such as publish/subscribe events to tie widgets together, JavaScript action handlers, and a generic proxy to interact with external RESTful Web services, Sun officials said. And jMaki supports PHP, so that developers can script the front ends of their Web applications on standard PHP while keeping their back ends in Java, Murray said.

In addition, Sun is supporting both jMaki and GlassFish on the Eclipse open-source development platform.

Ben Galbraith, co-founder of, knows jMaki from experience. He said, in a statement, "jMaki offers a compelling model for creating rich component-oriented AJAX interfaces in Java. It standardizes AJAX component interfaces, smoothly integrates multiple AJAX frameworks such as Dojo and YUI, provides a powerful declarative event handling mechanism, and makes it easy to do mash-ups with its built-in and easily configurable proxy server. Before you start down the path of integrating some of the popular AJAX frameworks into your application, learn jMaki first."

Suns new efforts are being done as "open-source, open-community" initiatives, according to Hinz.

"Weve been working very hard in trying to engage the community," Murray said. "And some of our better features have come from the users." Indeed, Sun is working on adding two additional non-Sun developers to the jMaki core development team, he said.

GlassFish 2 will be distributed through Suns Solaris Express and bundled with the Ubuntu 7.04 "Feisty Fawn" release, Hinz said.

Hinz added that Sun is looking to the open-community approach to drive the development of Java EE 6 and is asking the community for input. The same goes for GlassFish 3, he said. "People are already starting to look at that," he said. "This goes beyond saying Sun is open source; were also going for a truly open-community approach."

The Sun Web Developer Pack will be bundled into the Sun Java Application Platform SDK Update 3 preview, which includes the GlassFish V2 beta, Sun said.

Sun is also announcing the creation of a JSR (Java Specification Request), JSR 311, which is aimed at providing support for RESTful Web services in the Java platform. Sun is working with other vendors such as BEA, Apache, Google, Red Hats JBoss division, TmaxSoft and Jerome Louvel, who is author of the Restlet project.

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