Developers Say Yes to Web Services J2EE 1.4

After months of development, testing and even a little hand-wringing, Sun
Microsystems’ final version of J2EE version 1.4 has received an official stamp of approval from developers and will be released next week.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based firm said a unanimous vote by the Java Community Process (JCP), a Java advocacy group, earlier this week sealed the deal.

J2EE 1.4 has been developed specifically with Web services
in mind as competing software
vendors large and small stake claims in the industry turf with new applications.

Web services, among other things, enable applications
to communicate with one another more efficiently. By combining the clout of Java with the potential of Web services among business partners, Sun said it hopes to win over more developers than ever in its quest to permeate an applications market where Microsoft looms large with its .NET platform.

Sun said the J2EE launch is also being marked with a move to license the new specification and its Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) under new license terms friendly to non-profit and open source projects such as the Apache Software Foundation and JBoss. The two groups settled long-term debates with Sun and will be amongst the first open source organizations to license J2EE 1.4 specification and CTS.

“We received a clear message from the J2EE community to provide complete support for Web services standards and interfaces,” said Mark Hapner, Sun engineer and co-spec lead of the J2EE 1.4 specification. “Sun took this challenge and in collaboration with the J2EE 1.4 Expert Group, we believe we have delivered the most interoperable and standard Web services platform in the form of this important Java specification, Reference Implementation and Software Developer Kit.”

The upcoming software development kit (SDK) will include a J2EE
1.4-certified version of a fully-deployable application server from Sun (the
developer release of the Sun Java System Application Server 8 Platform
Edition). The SDK will also include documentation and tools for developers to learn J2EE and get started with the J2EE 1.4 specification. The spec is available as a free download on the Solaris Operating Environment and
Windows platforms at Sun’s Developer Network site.

Sun, which is a leader in Java development, has been adding its influence to Web services standards; the company said J2EE 1.4 is the first to support the Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) Basic Profile. Sun isn’t the only systems vendor itching for J2EE 1.4’s completion, however. IBM, BEA and Oracle too have been busy creating development kits for the new language version.

Sun said its differentiator is that it has given OEMs a head start on developing their own programs.

“With nearly four million downloads and over 30 licensees, the J2EE
platform and Software Developer Kit is establishing itself as the popular
choice and premier platform for Java and Web services development,” Sun vice
president of Java Web Services Mark Bauhaus said. “The
delivery of the J2EE 1.4 specification realizes the vision of an
architecture that fuses Web services standards and the Java platform, and represents the most complete implementation of the WS-I Basic Profile that promises cross-vendor Web services interoperability.”

The new licensing provisions were introduced by the JCP program through the JCP 2.5 process document and require that all Java specifications allow for development and distribution of compatible independent implementations, make specification products available separately and offer Technology Compatibility Kits (TCK) free of charge to qualified non-profits, educational organizations and individuals.

In related news, the JCP celebrated its fifth anniversary to coincide with the publishing of the final results of the JCP Executive Committees (EC) 2003 elections.

Introduced by Sun in 1995, the JCP was formalized in December 1998 as a community based program for evolving and maintaining Java technology. The community has steadily grown into an open organization of international Java technology developers whose charter is to develop and revise Java technology specifications, reference implementations and technology compatibility kits.

Since its inception, some 233 JSRs were submitted to the JCP representing an average of 45 new specifications per year. About a third of the submitted JSRs have been completed.

With a membership made up of more than 680 participants, the JCP program boasts having the most advanced Java technology expertise in the industry and top developer talent. Experts from leading IT corporations, developer communities including the open source community, academia and individual developers work together under the JCP to deliver on the promise of Java technology compatibility. They balance consensus with speed to develop and maintain a comprehensive standards-based platform that benefits entire industries.

On the horizon, the group is currently hammering out the final details of its JCP 2.6. The guidelines outlined in JSR 215 will introduce provisions to make the process more transparent and efficient.

The proposed specification draft is in advanced approval stages by the
community and the ECs and should be finalized in early 2004.

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