Partners, Rivals Fall in Line with Suns J2EE 1.4

Five companies announce compatibility with the specification, including IBM and Oracle, as Sun also introduces an application verification kit and further expansion in China.

Sun Microsystems Inc. is sponsoring an event Monday to celebrate the adoption of J2EE 1.4, the latest version of Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition.

Several partners—as well as competitors—joined Sun at the San Francisco event to announce compatibility with J2EE 1.4 or plans to support the specification, which became available last November.

Five companies now offer J2EE-compatible products, Sun said. Those companies are Sun, of Santa Clara, Calif.; IBM Corp., of Armonk, N.Y.; Oracle Corp., of Redwood Shores, Calif.; Tmax Soft Inc., of Englewood Cliffs, N.J.; and Trifork A/S, of Aarhus, Denmark.

J2EE 1.4 is the Web services release of the J2EE specification in that it is the first version of J2EE to focus on promoting Web services through the convergence of Java, XML and Web services technology.

Dennis MacNeil, senior product manager of Java Web services at Sun, said the focus with J2EE 1.4 "is not only on application servers but the entire Java ecosystem. A number of players are here, not just in the application-server space."

In addition to IBMs and Oracles presence, the Sun-sponsored event included panels with officials from Borland Software Corp., BEA Systems Inc., SAP AG and others. And other companies, such as Attachmate Corp. and iWay Software, were on hand at the event to demonstrate complementary technologies.

MacNeil said the difference between moving to J2EE 1.3 and transitioning to J2EE 1.4 is that there are more lower-cost and open-source application-server alternatives this time around. "There is a great deal of choice," he said. "The vendors who were leaders with J2EE 1.3 may not necessarily be leaders with J2EE 1.4."

In addition to lower-cost application-server options from companies such as Pramati Technologies, of Hyderabad, India, free application servers from JBoss, the Apache Foundation and Sun also will support J2EE 1.4, MacNeil said.

Sun also announced a J2EE 1.4 Application Verification Kit (AVK) to test for portability and the proper use of J2EE APIs in application servers. The AVK tests to make sure that proprietary extensions vendors may provide in their application servers do not break portability.

Next Page: Sun says it is further expanding in China.