Sun Turns Java On to Web Services

Sun pushes Java further into the Web services realm with a new version of its Java 2 Enterprise Edition, while broadly releasing a beta of its next-generation Java virtual machine for handhelds.

Sun Microsystems Inc. is pushing Java further into the Web services realm with a new version of its Java 2 Enterprise Edition under development. In addition, the company will broadly release this week a beta of its next-generation Java virtual machine for handhelds.

J2EE 1.4, due later this year or early next year, will add to the Web services development and deployment features of the current version while enhancing integration capabilities and tightening support for standards, Sun officials said.

The current J2EE, Version 1.3, is focused on integration but supports Web services by incorporating work available in Java Specification Request activities to cover some of the services standards.

"What 1.4 will do is actually codify that into the requirements for the platform," said Glen Martin, senior product manager for J2EE at Sun, in Palo Alto, Calif. "So now any implementer of the platform will be required to have precisely those Web services interface standards supported, the same way that theyd have to provide for all the other capabilities of the platform."

J2EE 1.4 will be displayed at Suns JavaOne developer conference in San Francisco this week. Other vendors, including Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM, also are expected to make announcements regarding Web services.

"Were adding on the Web services features to J2EE 1.4 without any changes to the J2EE architecture," Martin said. "The architecture already does all the capabilities, so your applications dont have to change."

J2EE 1.4 is expected to feature support for SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol); WSDL (Web Services Description Language); Universal Description, Discovery and Integration; and enhanced XML support. At the conference, Sun will deliver a road map of the technology for developers, said Richard Green, a vice president and general manager of Suns Java and XML Platform.

Included in J2EE 1.4 will be Version 1.5 of the J2EE Connector Architecture integration feature. Before J2EE 1.4 is ready later this year, Sun in June will release the next version of its Java Web Services Developer Pack.

Also at JavaOne, Sun will demonstrate Web services support via its CDC (Connected Device Configuration) and its related Java 2 virtual machine known as CVM, based on the J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition) platform for handhelds. It will be the first time Sun has shown the CVM running on a wireless device, in this case Sharp Electronics Corp.s Zaurus 5000D Linux/Java handheld, a developer close to the project said. Sun will make the CVM beta available at the show.

CDC lets users develop lightweight peer-to-peer applications based on PersonalJava and Suns Project Jxta technology, and it communicates with Web services via SOAP. Software developers such as SAP AG and Sybase Inc. will be displaying Web services implementations on the Zaurus PDA at JavaOne, sources said.

The developer, who requested anonymity, said CDC is part of the J2ME family, "but it has broader capabilities. They have at least half a dozen versions of Java 2—[Java 2 Standard Edition], J2EE, J2ME. This is the inherent problem with Java. I like Java from a conceptual point of view, but until very recently, it wasnt good enough or fast enough to run apps" on consumer and embedded platforms.

Suns iPlanet unit will rev its Web services application integration framework as well with a new iPlanet XML Adapter Designer tool kit and WSDL support for the iPlanet Integration Server.

Also at the show, HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., will announce HP Web Services Platform 2.0, which features a modular platform that enables developers to build, deploy, register, discover and use Web services.

It will be compatible with HPs application server and extends its capabilities by enabling Java applications to be connected to other applications over the Web, regardless of hardware, operating system or programming environment, bridging the gap between Java and .Net, the company said. Key components of HP WSP include a SOAP server, bundled developer tools, HP Service Composer, HP Registry Composer and trail maps.

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