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Sun Java Studio Tool Rises In East

Hoping to expand its user base, Sun Microsystems announced expansion efforts to its Java Studio Creator (JSC) platform Wednesday.

The Santa Clara, Calif., software company and shepherd of the Java programming language added Mac OS X and x86-based Solaris platform support to its developer tool, as well as its first internationalized versions in Japanese and simplified Chinese.

Sun also added Java Developer Network portals in simplified Chinese and Japanese, giving developers in the East access to downloads, tutorials and how-to tips in their language.

"We're going after the Asian developer marketplace in a big way at this point," said Jim Inscore, Sun JSC group product marketing manager. "We recognize China as an emerging market where lots of developers want to get up to speed on technologies like Java and [Java 2, Enterprise Edition ], so we view this as a way of enabling them to do that."

Inscore said efforts are under way with CD-ROM giveaways of its software in India to get programmers to try it for application development.

The JSC isn't designed to compete with Microsoft Visual Studio on the .NET framework or IBM's competing Java tool WebSphere Studio Application Developer.

Though all three come with features like drag-and-drop design and database queries, JSC targets the developer building Web applications for the enterprise. Sun's Java Studio Enterprise is designed for networked applications with J2EE, though JSC does support the J2EE standard. The NetBeans IDE rounds out Sun's developer tools and is designed for low-footprint applications.

This push is the latest in Sun's Asia/Pacific spread. In June, when the company revamped its pricing strategy, it modeled 16 pre-tested reference architectures based on Chinese-specific business models.

In November 2003, Sun won a contract with China Standard Software Co., a government-backed technology company consortium, to install at least 200 million copies of the Java Desktop System (JDS) nationwide.

The JDS runs on a Linux-based system and includes open source applications like Mozilla's Firefox browser and Evolution e-mail client. It also includes Sun's StarOffice 7, the premium version of the open source OpenOffice application suite of word processor, spreadsheet and presentation apps.

The operating and language support of Sun's quarterly update process with JSC. Each update, Inscore said, will include either visible or behind-the-scenes user improvements on the platform.

The company is expected to roll out its next major release, code-named Thresher, sometime next year. Early work is commencing now, with support for one-button deployment on more application servers, support for Session EJBs and integrated support for source code management tools.