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IBM Jazzes Up WebSphere for JDK 1.4

IBM is updating its WebSphere line with new support for JDK 1.4, part of the next generation of Java software that many developers are writing to power Web services applications.

Bob Sutor, director of WebSphere Infrastructure Software, said at a recent media event that WebSphere Application Server 5.1 and Application Server Express 5.1 now support JDK 1.4 and Java Server Faces. WebSphere Studio Version 5.1.1 will be available December 30, he said.

JDK 1.4, which along with Java Runtime Environment is part of Java 2 Platform Standard Edition (J2SE) 1.4, is a developer's kit for building standards-based, interoperable applications, applets and Web services. J2SE 1.4 is a subset of Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition 1.4 (J2EE 1.4), which is expected to be unveiled next year.

Sun Microsystems, Oracle, BEA and other software vendors all share the common goal of ramping up their software platforms in anticipation of J2EE 1.4, an alternative to next-generation Microsoft .NET product, which is also expected to demonstrate greater Web services deliverability.

While many of these companies are working together to improve Java 1.4, they are also seizing the chance to be first to offer applications that ramp up performance for the coming architecture. Sutor said IBM recognizes this.

Sutor said the revved-up application server and developer tools platform for JDK 1.4 will feature more security and XML support, as well as the ability for independent software developers to debug applications without taking the runtime environment offline. Such seamless maintenance capabilities are a hallmark of the promise of J2EE 1.4.

"This is moving WebSphere toward the next generation of Java support," Sutor told internetnews.com. "They [developers] want advantages to 1.4 as they are building their applications."

Sutor also promised a new major release of WebSphere Application Server will coincide with the J2EE 1.4 launch.

Java Server Faces describes an architecture and APIs that simplify the creation and maintenance of Java server application graphical user interfaces (GUIs) .

Sutor said IBM's new Java Server Faces, geared to help ISVs create rich, powerful Web sites, will give developers easy drag-and-drop functionality. The goal with this spec is to connect different Web pages together with a series of controls and to connect tables to different databases so "developers do not have to write 300 lines of code."

In related news, IBM this week celebrated the two-year anniversary of its eServer p690 Unix-based system, which has shipped close to 4,000 units since its launch. The Armonk, N.Y., company said home shopping network ShopNBC has agreed to buy IBM eServer p690 systems to process tens of thousands of orders this holiday season from customers.

Big Blue also said that more than 300 new Linux and WebSphere solutions have been ported to the IBM's Linux-based iSeries platform. The newest iSeries solution is from S2 Systems, a global provider of transaction processing for financial, retail and telecommunications sectors. S2 customers will use IBM iSeries to consolidate multiple workloads into an integrated Linux environment.