Sun Revs NetBeans, GlassFish

At Sun's Tech Days event, the company gives hints about its NetBeans tools and GlassFish Java application server.

BOSTON—Sun Microsystems served notice that new versions of its NetBeans tools, as well as the companys open-source GlassFish Java application server, will be available possibly as early as Sept. 17.

The disclosures came during its two-day Tech Days event that started here on Sept. 11. The event kicks off a tour that will cover the globe and end up in Manila in 2008, said Brian Leonard, an evangelist for Suns NetBeans open-source development tool set.

In addition to news about new NetBeans and GlassFish versions, Sun officials also shed new light on the upcoming Java EE 6 (Java Platform, Enterprise Edition Version 6).

Sun Vice President and Java creator James Gosling said, "Its been pretty interesting times with NetBeans over the last few years. The usage has really picked up and NetBeans has been improving. Im excited about NetBeans 6. The beta is coming out next Monday [Sept. 17]."

Gosling said NetBeans 6 is a "complete reengineering of the guts of NetBeans. There is a lot of stuff concentrating on the semantic graph."

Leonard said NetBeans is not just a Java editor, but also an IDE (integrated development environment) and a platform. He said the plug-in portal for NetBeans is new and facilitates getting NetBeans plug-ins to work easily with the IDE.


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In addition, Leonard said the NetBeans IDE works right out of the box. "Its not like Eclipse where you need to grab a bunch of plug-ins," he said.

"You can even develop on your cell phone and debug it," Leonard said of NetBeans. Gosling added, "I still get goose bumps when I see somebody set a breakpoint on a cell phone." A breakpoint, in software development, is an intentional stopping or pausing place in a program that is used for debugging purposes.

Leonard said the road map for NetBeans is that NetBeans 5.5.1 was released at JavaOne and the company has been working on NetBeans 6, the beta of which is expected on Sept. 17.

"We plan to release every year and were going to Prague [where NetBeans core development team resides] to start the planning of NetBeans 7."

Some of the "new and cool stuff" in NetBeans 6 includes project groups for grouping projects, new editor features, support for local history and an upgraded NetBeans profiler.

The NetBeans profiler has new features including profiling points, a HeapWalker tool for evaluating Java heap contents and searching for memory leaks, an areas-of-interest graph, Apache JMeter integration, dynamic attach feature (which is included in the Java Development Kit 6) and support for RESTful Web services.

Tom Kincaid, executive director of application platforms, delivered some "first-time-ever presented material" on Java EE6.

Kincaid said the goals of Java EE 6 include "rightsizing" the platform, further ease of development and extensibility.

Part of this effort includes the new proposal of doing various Profiles, where the Java EE expert group defines rules for "subsetting" the Java EE platform, and the group will define one profile, the Web Profile. The Web Profile will be a subset of the Java EE platform focused on lighter-weight Web applications, Kincaid said.


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"Well also be enabling things like a Java EE telco profile," Kincaid said. "Im not saying that is something well have," he added, noting that something like it could be possible.

In terms of extensibility, the expert group is working on ways to enable frameworks, particularly open-source frameworks, to layer on top of the platform. And in terms of ease of development, Java EE 6 will feature simplified packages, enhanced annotations, and other features.

Meanwhile, Java EE 6 will be developed on GlassFish Version 3. However, GlassFish Version 2 is expected to ship on Sept. 17.


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