Sun to Augment J2EE 1.4 with Web Services Features

The systems vendor plans to add WS-I specification support in its forthcoming J2EE v 1.4 platform.
Sun Microsystems Tuesday is augmenting its Java platform by adding support for Web services technologies in its pending Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) version 1.4.

Sun has full support on tap for the " Basic Profile" specification, which was published by the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) to ensure that Web services component technologies, such as SOAP , XML WSDL , UDDI and SSL work together.

The news means that any Web Service built with J2EE 1.4 will automatically be fully interoperable with any other Web Service that supports the Basic Profile, regardless of its underlying platform. It also means J2EE 1.4 completion will be pushed back to the summer. Sun, who is working through the Java Community Process (JCP), said the addition of WS-I Basic Profile support to existing support for Web services standards means J2EE now features both the Web services programming model and data model that make it possible for developers to build applications and services.

"Developers can apply their programming knowledge broadly across computing environments to build portable web applications or web services that allow customers to save costs and increase revenues by bringing their information assets to the Web," said Mark Bauhaus, vice president of Java Web Services at Sun.

In addition to garnered support from the likes of BEA Systems and Macromedia, one analyst cheered Sun's move, but cautioned that it still has much to do to prove its Web services prowess.

Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst for XML and Web services research firm ZapThink, said Sun's support of the WS-I Basic Profile in J2EE 1.4 assures the public that Sun is making a solid commitment to the real-world application of Web services.

"Sun has struggled with both its software product strategy as well as its Web Services strategy, and this announcement is an encouraging sign that Sun at least is finally getting its Web Services act together," Bloomberg told internetnews.com. "However, only time will tell whether Sun can translate this leadership into real products that customers want to buy. If anything, Sun's position as the shepherd of Java has actually impeded its ability to drive software sales, a problem that Sun will have to turn around soon."

One example of the Web services turmoil Sun was embroiled in for a spell was its tempestuous relationship with the WS-I, a consortium it fought vehemently to be an equal partner in, along with Microsoft and IBM, its chief competitors in the sector. Sun joined WS-I last October after a year of bickering Basic Profile was published one week later.

ZapThink Senior Analyst Ronald Schmelzer was even more impressed than his colleague, calling Sun's progress both impressive and remarkable.

"Rather than taking a defensive, 'wait-and-see' approach to Web Services, they have decided to take the bull by the horns and make a rather credible claim that Java is the best environment for the deployment of Web Services and Service-Oriented Architectures," Schmelzer told internetnews.com. "By really taking the message of Web Services interoperability to heart and implementing the basic profile in J2EE 1.4, Sun is basically saying, 'Ok, we buy into the vision of standards-based, loosely-coupled computing. Here's our first stab at this from a product perspective.'"

Schmelzer said this ups the ante for Sun rivals Microsoft and IBM, who will be in the position of having to do the same in their product sets, or face looking hypocritical for initially refusing Sun's entry into the WS-I and then deriding their efforts.

With J2EE v 1.4, Sun and the JCP promise a new platform abstraction that makes software creation for some 3 million Java developers easier and more expedient. Sun said businesses using J2EE 1.4 will be able to switch computing environments without the cost of reengineering, as well as benefit from simple integration with applications and legacy systems.

Currently in its final development stage through the JCP, products that will support J2EE 1.4 include Sun ONE Application Server and Sun ONE Studio Integrated development Environment (IDE), which are expected to be available in the summer.






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