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Data Processing Spec Nears Final Draft

A new standard for querying and managing data and metadata in Java-based online analytical processing (OLAP) servers and databases is approaching its final draft, the Java Community Process (JCP) said Monday.

The JCP Expert Group for the Java OLAP Interface (JOLAP) recently concluded a 60-day public review of their specification for multidimensional data management and interoperability of the JOLAP application programming interface (API) .

Why do developers needs such a software spec? JOLAP is designed to be the OLAP counterpart of the Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) (API) for data managed by relational databases. The JCP believes the Java community will benefit from one industry-standard API that makes it possible to create business analysis applications that can be deployed across any JOLAP-compliant OLAP data resource. Geared for the Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) environment, JOLAP consists of the Common Warehouse Metamodel (CWM) and Java Metadata Interface (JMI) to perform advanced analytics and business performance management.

Vendors of OLAP servers supporting the JOLAP standard will be able to use an API that will be readily usable by a number of applications running on the Java platform. Firms involved in the architecture of this specification include Hyperion , Sun Microsystems , IBM , Oracle , Unisys , SAS Institute, Databeacon, Pilot Software, Nokia and Adaptive.

The next stage in the painstaking process of developing the specification is the production of a proposed final draft, a proof of concept (in JCP parlance, a Reference Implementation (RI)) and a piece of software used in verifying specification conformance (Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK), in JCP parlance).

One analyst applauded the advancement. Mike Schiff, Vice President of E-Business and Business Intelligence at Current Analysis, said interdependency of e-business and analytic applications heightens the urgency and significance of providing the Java community with a singular mechanism to work with OLAP data structures.

"Broad support for standards like JOLAP and the Common Warehouse Metamodel among leading e-business and data warehousing vendors is a positive and timely development in the evolution of the Internet economy," Schiff said.

John Kopcke, chief technology officer of Hyperion, which proposed the spec, discussed the importance of JOLAP for his company's customers.

"Our customers ultimately benefit by being able to integrate their applications with a multitude of OLAP servers and other advanced analysis and business performance management tools," Kopcke said.