Sun Moves on J2EE 1.4

Sun released source code and compatibility tests for the next version of the Java 2 Enterprise Edition. In other news for Web-services standards, the OASIS group approved the spec for Web Services for Remote Portlets.

Web-services standards took two steps forward last week, when Sun Microsystems Inc. announced support for industry-standard profiles and a key standards organization approved a specification for Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP).

With Sun and the Java Community Process tying the upcoming Java 2 Enterprise Edition 1.4 platform to the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) Basic Profile, Sun Thursday announced the "qualification release" of J2EE 1.4, including source code and compatibility tests, the company said.

In addition, Sun said it is the first to market with technology compliant with the WS-I Basic Profile 1.0. The Palo Alto, Calif., company also said that with its Java Web Services Developer Pack 1.2 and J2EE 1.4 Software Developer Kit beta, Sun is meeting the needs of the WS-I Basic Profile.

Both Sun and IBM have touted technology that supports the WS-I profile since its debut last month.

"I dont believe that its particularly relevant that Sun is the first to market with a platform that supports the WS-I Basic Profile because they only have a few percent of the market, and it wont be long until many other vendors support the basic profile in their products, including the other platform vendors," said Jason Bloomberg, an analyst with ZapThink LLC, a Cambridge, Mass., market research firm. "It also looks like Sun is leveraging the head start they get from being the driver of the J2EE spec," he said.

Also this week, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) announced that the Boston-based standards organization approved Web Services for Remote Portlets 1.0 as an OASIS Standard. According to OASIS, WSRP standardizes the way Web services are consumed in portal front ends. Essentially, WSRP enables developers to implement remote portlet Web services in various ways.

More than 25 companies collaborated on the WSRP specification, including IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., BEA Systems Inc., Sun, Oracle Corp. and Novell Inc.

"One challenge facing vendors who might now be looking to support WSRP as well as their customers is the fact that WSRP supports the interoperability of the interface, that is, how the portlets look," Bloomberg said. "Its possible, therefore, to have a portal that contains portlets with very different visual metaphors and interaction paradigms. So, just like when the first multiple font capabilities led to dreadful amateur newsletters, its up to the consumers of WSRP-capable tools to ensure that their portals dont look like a mix-and-match jumble."

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