WebSphere Gets J2EE Nod

IBM's application server and DB2 database platforms gain compliancy.

The latest version of J2EE appears to be gaining momentum among application server and tools vendors looking to take advantage of new features designed to promote Web services.

Late last month, IBM announced that its WebSphere application server and DB2 database platforms have been certified as compatible with Java 2 Enterprise Edition Version 1.3.

IBMs announcement came about a week after a 4-year-old company from Hyderabad, India, said that this month it will release the industrys first independently developed application server that is compatible with J2EE 1.3. Pramati Technologies, which does business mostly in India and other parts of Asia, wants to use its Pramati Server Version 3.0 to muscle its way into the U.S. market.

Pramati officials said they are targeting midsize companies, which they said are underserved by larger application server players such as IBM and BEA Systems Inc.

Key among the new features in J2EE 1.3, which was released by Sun Microsystems Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., in September, are technologies that support Web services development, such as JMS (Java Messaging Service), and increased integration with XML.

Officials with IBM said the J2EE 1.3 certification indicates the Armonk, N.Y., companys leadership in growing the application server into an integration server that can tie in technology outside of Java. Stefan van Overtveldt, IBMs program director for WebSphere technical marketing, said the company is promoting integration technologies, such as J2EE Connector Architecture.

"About 80 percent of this comes from IBMs Common Connector Framework, which lets Java applications integrate with non-Java applications," van Overtveldt said.

Having technology J2EE 1.3-compliant is important for IBM and other vendors, said Yen-Ping Shan, vice president of Internet and client server product development for Automatic Data Processing Inc., in Roseland, N.J.

"J2EE 1.3 certification allows companies like ADP to effectively evaluate technology providers on a best-of-breed basis," Shan said. "ADPs new Pay Expert payroll management product is J2EE-based and utilizes IBMs WebSphere application server because it supports this standard."

IBM kept its attention fixed on the J2EE 1.3 standard as it evolved, looking to implement that standard in the "best fashion," van Overtveldt said.

Meanwhile, van Overtveldt said, of "all the companies that have claimed J2EE compliance in the last six months, none of them are certified yet."

However, in the eyes of some, first is not always necessarily best. John Rymer, vice president of product marketing at Iona Technologies plc., in Waltham, Mass., said he expects to see many vendors claiming J2EE 1.3 compliance between now and the Java One show in March.

"People will say they are first, but they may leave something out," said Rymer, whose company focuses on Web services technology.

Additional reporting by Jeffrey Burt