Sun to Brighten Development Experience

The company announces a series of technologies and initiatives to help developers build applications and Web services more effectively.

Sun Microsystems Inc. last week announced a series of technologies and initiatives to help developers build applications and Web services more effectively and to enjoy a better overall development experience, including revamping its developer program.

Sun announced its Sun ONE Web Services Platform Developer Edition, which comprises integrated tools and infrastructure technology. The integrated platform consists of Suns integrated development environment (IDE) for building Web services, a portal server, a network identity server, an application server and Suns integration server, according to Roger Nolan, senior director of Web Services Integration at Sun. Sun made the announcement at the Web Services Edge East 2003 conference in Boston.

The Sun ONE Web Services Platform Developer Edition is the equivalent of the recently announced Project Orion, except it is targeted toward developers, Nolan said. Project Orion combines all of Suns primary application and infrastructure technologies and integrates them with Suns Solaris operating system.

Nolan said Sun will run a six-month promotion beginning April 1 where the company will sell what amounts to more than $36,000 in software for around $1,000. The list price is $5,000, with a promotional list price of $1,329 and an expected street price of $999.

The product supports integration technologies like the Java 2 Enterprise Edition Connector Architecture and Java Messaging Service, as well as all the application programming interfaces in Suns Java Web Services Developer Pack. Future versions will support Suns Java Business Integration technology, also announced last week, and the Web Services Interoperability Organizations basic profile, Nolan said.

Meanwhile, Sun announced an expansion of its developer community focus with the launch of its Sun Developer Network, said Sanjay Sarathy, director of Suns developer program office. Sun provides an enhanced portal at to foster dialogue among developers and to deliver content and education relevant to developers, including code snippets, sample applications, training and access to new Sun technologies as they become available.

Sun came in third in a recent Evans Data Corp. survey of developers about their choice of developer programs, behind Microsoft Corp. and IBM. Sarathy said he hopes the new focus will mean more developers for the Sun platform.

"Even before we put these enhancements into place, we saw a 55 percent growth" in the Sun developer program, Sarathy said, adding that about 3 million people have registered for Suns developer program.

In its 2003 Developer Relations Program Annual Report, which included survey results from 500 developers, Evans Data, of Santa Cruz, Calif., found that more than twice as many developers selected Microsofts Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) as the best overall program than selected any other program.

Others in the industry also are looking at the importance of their relationship with their developer community and have been trying to adopt the largely successful Microsoft model. BEA Systems Inc., of San Jose, Calif., which employs some of the architects of Microsofts MSDN, has made a developer focus—and its dev2dev developer program—a key part of its overall strategy. Macromedia Inc., of San Francisco, last month announced its DevNet program to offer subscriptions to its developer community. Under DevNet, Macromedia developers can get Macromedia tools, servers, extensions, components and other resources on an annual subscription basis. The subscriptions became available earlier this month. And IBM last month announced expanded licensing, a broader range of subscription levels and new support options for the IBM developerWorks Toolbox Subscription offerings. The tools in the toolbox include various editions of IBM WebSphere Studio developer tools and other IBM middleware.

Also last week, Sun formally announced a new business integration infrastructure standard, the Sun Java Business Integration (JBI) specification. JBI is also known as Java Specification Request (JSR) 208, which has been submitted to the Java Community Process for approval. The standard defines an architecture for integrating data and applications in a Java Web services environment. Sun officials said they expect several companies to implement the standard, which borrows from existing integration technologies and will feature some new technologies as well.

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