J2EE Collaboratition

With the launch of J2EE Version 1.4, eWEEK's Steve Gillmor grades the major Java players's strategies to simultaneously collaborate and compete against .Net.

The J2EE community gathered Monday in San Francisco to celebrate the launch of Version 1.4, as well as to tease the ease-of-use direction of next years J2EE Version 1.5. Does that mean 1.4 isnt easy to use?

The event was also a parade of a bewildering set of conflicting Java vendor strategies. You need a scorecard to sort them all out. Heres mine, with a quick snapshot of the players, to help you keep them straight at JavaOne this June.

Sun: B

With Jonathan Schwartzs disruptive all-you-can-eat software strategy now fully vested, the focus of Suns J2EE efforts will shift to the tactical. A free hardware bundle with the Java Developer System opens a line of attack for BEA, whose deputy CTO Benjamin Renaud maintains customers do not want app servers integrated down to the hardware level (code for the operating system.) Of course, Suns new partner, Microsoft, begs to disagree: Redmond doesnt have a stand-alone app server product.

Net: Volume wins by expanding out of a zero-sum game.


Everybodys favorite take-over candidate, BEA is moving toward an adaptive, personalized developer suite that is best-of-breed for Suns Rave/VB script-kiddies, BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) business logic jockeys, and EJB code warriors. Along the way, theyre hoping to virtualize IBMs Crossworlds integration connectors-in-a-box, cut off IBM Global Services blood supply, and shrink integration costs below 50 cents on the IT dollar.

Net : Could be one of the three survivors left standing when the dust settles; but what if the three are IBM, Microsoft, and JBoss?

JBoss: A-

Marc Fleury doesnt want Sun open sourcing Java—why screw up a good thing? Now that Sun has an open-source compatible license for J2EE 1.4, the inclusion of open source players such as JBoss and Apache means the J2EE market cant collapse into IBM or BEA domination. And Suns open ear to Fluerys simplification of the EJB specification in EJB 3.0 provides an easier path for JBoss reaching J2EE certification, while driving its Aspect-oriented programming mantra for innovation and corresponding services revenue.

Net: Professional open source reaches the Big Show.

Next page: Oracle, Borland, IBM.