Sun Unveils Java SE 6

Sun Microsystems today announced the availability of Java Platform Standard Edition 6 (Java SE 6), the latest edition of the Java platform for desktop computers and servers, and the first to be developed in an open manner.

Java SE 6 is the first iteration of the platform built under the new open source regime at Sun. Weekly builds were posted, along with the source code. More than 160 companies and 330 individual developers participated in the project.

During the course of development, Sun received more than 750 bug reports and over 300 fixes submitted by the community. In fact, Sun  said one individual contributed so much, the company offered him a job.

As part of this release, Sun is giving its developer programs a boost by offering 60 days of unlimited support via its Sun Developer Expert Assistance program. This group will answer questions for those looking to get up to speed on Java SE 6.

For advanced programmers who know their way around Java code, Sun will offer new online classes through Sun Developer Services.

Developers can begin modifying their applications for Java SE 6 immediately, as it is fully integrated with the recently-released NetBeans 5.5 Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

Sun said a key attribute of Java SE 6 is better performance. “The things people will benefit from the most, just from running their apps without recompile, is performance. They should see a double digit increase, around 10 to 15 or even a 25 percent increase,” said Bill Curci, product marketing manager for Java Platform SE.

Peter Moore, a director with Java developer Cenqua, agrees. “It definitely feels faster, there’s no question there,” he told “Our product is a fairly intensive server application. We’re doing a mountain of I/O and a fair bit of processing to boot. We don’t have definitive numbers but it certainly feels faster.”

Other new features of SE 6 include support for Web 2.0 through the addition of JavaScript support, the first time in the history of the platform, along with support for dynamic scripting languages like PHP, Python and Ruby.

As part of this, Sun has created a collection of scripting engines. Java SE 6 also comes with a full stack of Web services APIs, such as JAX-WS 2.0, JAXB 2.0, STAX and JAXP.

Java SE 6 sports a new, expanded set of tools for diagnosing, managing and monitoring applications while they are deployed, and also includes support for the new NetBeans Profiler 5.5 and for Solaris DTrace. Sun has also updated the tool interfaces for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM ) and the Java Platform Debugger Architecture (JPDA).

Curci praised the open development process and said it helped increase Sun’s own productivity with the platform. “Getting those bugs reported sooner meant we could fix them sooner in this release. It’s a testament to getting the most interested portion of the community involved early,” he said.

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