Sun Simplifying Enterprise JavaBeans

Sun gives an early update on the long-awaited EBJ 3.0 spec for creating Java-based enterprise apps, saying it is focusing on "making it easier to use."

LAS VEGAS—Sun Microsystems Inc. shed light Thursday on its long-awaited Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0, the yet unfinished specification for creating Java-based enterprise applications.

In a session that was slated to be held at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco in June, Linda DeMichiel, EJB 3.0 specification lead and an architect in the J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) platform group at Sun, gave an early update on the work in progress that is EJB 3.0. DeMichiel gave her presentation to a packed audience at the Serverside Java Symposium here.

Following on the theme of Suns focus on ease of development, DeMichiel said her goal is to "simplify EJB, make it easier to use," by implementing a simplified set of APIs, eliminating deployment descriptors from developers views and facilitating a test-driven development environment.

In addition, "we want to capture a broader range of developers," she said, by making things easier for the average developer and increasing the developer base by targeting more corporate developers.

"This is a nontrivial task," DeMichiel said.

In EJB 3.0, Sun will leverage the use of Java metadata, reduce the number of artifacts a programmer needs to produce, eliminate the need for a developer to provide EJB deployment descriptors and enable the generation of interfaces from the bean class, DeMichiel said. EJB 3.0 features simplified APIs that focus on the most common cases. The new specification leverages the use of Java language metadata and features a configuration by exception scheme. It also encapsulates environmental dependencies and Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI) access, simplifies enterprise bean types, eliminates the requirement for EJB component interfaces, and eliminates the requirement for Home and callback interfaces.

In addition, EJB 3.0 supports native SQL queries, annotations on classes and methods, and annotation processors.

DeMichiel said some of the features currently under evaluation include a service bean type, a single interface for subsuming remote and local usages.

The new spec also will support the creation of persistent instance and detached instances. It also supports object relational (O/R) mapping, as the group is "currently working on O/R mapping and an O/R mapping specification. In addition, in EJB 3.0, direct SQL is allowed over database schema," she said.

"This is very helpful for some applications—where the application is written to a particular database schema," DeMichiel said.

"Were taking a very POJO-centric view for all the enterprise bean types," she said. POJO means Plain Old Java Objects.

Some observers say what Sun is doing with EJB 3.0 is a radical shift for the company, largely in response to the successes of other open-source alternatives, such as the Spring Java application framework. In fact, some say the open-source alternatives in the form of Spring and Hibernate are better than what EJB 3.0 seems to offer. However, one attendee who asked not to be identified said his company frowns on open-source technology in production environments, so he is eagerly awaiting the completion of the EJB 3.0 specification.

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