Rivals BEA and IBM Deliver New Java Specs

The two companies, who are bitter rivals in the Java application server space, are working together to create three specs that will increase portability across competing J2EE application server platforms.

BEA Systems Inc. and IBM Tuesday announced that they will deliver three new specifications that will increase portability across the companies competing application server platforms as well as other Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) application servers that comply with the specifications.

Rod Smith, vice president of emerging technologies for IBM Software Group in Raleigh, N.C., said IBM and BEA plan to publish the new specifications on a royalty-free basis and will submit them to the Java Community Process for approval as standards.

"Well put JSRs [Java Specification Requests] in the JCP in the next couple of weeks," Smith said. "We collaborated on these innovations. Theyre not private specs; were putting them right into the Java process."

The new specifications include the Service Data Objects (SDO) specification, which delivers a programming model for data and varied data sources. SDO supports the use of standard tools and frameworks.

Another new specification is the Work Manager for Application Servers spec, which provides support for concurrently executing work items. And the third, the Timer for Application Servers specification, enables the setting of timers in application server activities.

Smith said IBM will support the SDO specification in WebSphere in December, ahead of BEA, and will support the other two specifications next year.

IBM officials said the new effort is just another example of IBMs commitment to work with competitors to drive standards that help the companys customers and business partners.

The newfound cooperation between the two bitter Java application server rivals is a departure from the companies usual competitive stance in this space.

"BEA and IBM have been listening to our customers over the past year or so, and weve worked for the better part of a year to define these specifications," Smith said.

Part of the goal with the new specifications is to simplify the programming model and level of skill required to create applications to run on J2EE application servers.

Smith said the specifications help the Java community. Indeed, Smith said other J2EE application server vendors, such as Oracle Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc., could quickly adopt the specifications and provide support in their solutions.

"The benefit is that customers who have WebLogic installed or IBM WebSphere installed and want to move their applications to the other platform, this is very much better for them," as opposed to having to rewrite applications or do excess coding, Smith said.

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