J2EE – A Real Beauty

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 7:37 pm

j2eeIndustrywide support has made J2EE the de facto standard for building and deploying enterprise-scale Java applications.

“I don’t think any advancements [in the past year] can be viewed as positively as J2EE,” Rich Green, vice president of Java Software at Sun, said at the event. “Once again, we’ve raised the bar for how [Java] can work [in an open-standards environment].”

Eight of the nine vendors with fully compatible J2EE products were present at the event, lending support to Green’s comment.

“[J2EE means] customers have platform confidence,” says Jonathan Weedon, chief architect at Borland. “The standards are of high quality, but before J2EE, there hasn’t been a metric to measure [that quality]. That’s why compatibility tests are important-[they instill] confidence in the platform.”

Due to be released sometime this year, the next version of J2EE, J2EE 1.3, is a result of work done within the Java Community Process (JCP), a panel of vendors and licensees that gives partners more power to develop Java specs.

Some of the improvements solution providers can expect to see in J2EE 1.3 surround the new spec for Enterprise Java Beans (EJBs)-the Java technology that encapsulates business logic and processes in applications-and XML support.

EJB 2.0 will have tighter integration with Java Messaging Service, says Keith Wescourt, Sun’s J2EE Web market manager. Developers can encode incoming messages as EJBs, which will now better facilitate the sending and receiving of messages to make systems integration easier.

J2EE 1.3 also will include two Sun Java APIs for XML, which will enable solution providers using J2EE-compatible platforms to use XML with Java without writing all the code by hand, says Wescourt.

Mark Hapner, senior staff engineer at Sun, says that with these and other enhancements, J2EE is part of Sun’s strategy to enable solution providers to build Web services.

“Vendors have compatible products for J2EE 1.2 in the marketplace, and you can build Web services with [them],” says Hapner.

Scott Walter, principal consultant at Chicago-based integrator One, says EJB 2.0 and XML support will strengthen J2EE-compatible platforms and make it easier for solution providers to use them to integrate systems for customers.

But Walter says what his clients would really like to see is better documentation for some of the technologies in the J2EE specification.

“Sun keeps on coming out with new APIs, and I run into clients that get frustrated that there’s so much out there, [but] the documentation is very little,” he says.

The mood surrounding J2EE hasn’t always been supportive.

When Sun unveiled J2EE 1.2 in June 1999, it required Java-based platform vendors to pay steep licensing fees just to receive compatibility testing kits, which contained thousands of tests each vendor’s application server had to pass before reaching compatibility. The J2EE price tag spurred renewed industry criticism of Sun’s proprietary hold on Java.

To further complicate matters, Mountain View, Calif.-based iPlanet-a Sun-Netscape alliance-became the first app-server vendor to pass the test “with what basically is a C++-based server,” says John Capobianco, executive vice president of strategic planning at Bluestone, which recently became HP’s middleware division. This spurred cries of nepotism among other J2EE licensees.

In the middle of the furor, Sun and other vendors with a vested interest in Java formed the JCP.

Kim Sheffield, vice president and general manager of SilverStream Software’s Application Server and ePortal divisions, says because of the JCP’s efforts, implementing J2EE 1.3 will be easier for J2EE licensees.

“The first [J2EE process] wasn’t democratic, [and] we were surprised at the last moment [about some aspects of the spec],” says Sheffield. “This time around it’s been a much more open process-there was more time to handle it correctly.”

Categories: Platforms

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